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Monday, 21 November 2011

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again

When the Tooting family find a vast abandoned engine and fit it to their camper van, they have no idea of the adventure that lies ahead. The engine used to belong to an extraordinary flying car and it wants to be back on the road again! The Tootings can haul on the steering wheel and pull the handbrake as hard as they like, but their camper van now has a mind of her own. It's not long before they're hurtling along on a turbocharged chase as Chitty tracks down her long-lost bodywork. But there are sinister forces at work too. When it comes to a car as special as Chitty, everybody wants a piece of her ...

As a child, one of my favorite film classics was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (along with Mary Poppins and The Railway Children) and when it was announced that a sequel was being written I was intrigued to read it and find out what happened next!

However, when I received the book , I was disappointed to find that the book is not a true sequel, it does not continue from where the film finished - no Truly Scrumptious and Mr Potts. 

The book introduces a new family, The Tootings. The father, Mr Tooting, has been sacked from his job, but sees this as a good thing, because the family will be able to travel where ever they want. However, this is soon put in jeopardy when the family car is returned as it was a company car. Mr Tooting makes use of all his free time by 'modifying' household appliance and the children's toys.

Mrs Tooting comes home one day with a vintage camper van which Mr Tooting and his eldest son, Jem, begin to take apart and put back together again to enable the family to travel overseas as previously planned. A broken spark plug leads the family to visit a local scrapyard to try and find a new one - not only do they come away with a new spark plug but also a much larger engine for the van.  

When the engine has been swapped over, they are set to begin their travels but an accident at a camper van festival, where baby Harry gets behind the wheel and drives the van off a cliff, they discover the van can fly and The Tooting family visit Paris and Cairo on their travels.

I thought that the story was well written and will interest children of 9+. The book includes lots of little facts about Paris and Cairo, but also little facts about the solar system and animals encountered on their travels.  

The story is definitely set in the modern day with references to facebook and I phones mentioned within the text - this is a complete contrast to the original story and I like this side to the book.

I really liked the illustrations throughout the book, they accompanied the story well and added extra interest to the book. Some of the illustrations are very simple, however there are some very detailed illustrations too, of the car parts and of the sphinx in Egypt. 

It would be advisable for readers to have either read the previous book, or watched the film, as it helps to understand this book but it is not vital. I think it will assist with understanding the story but all give added enjoyment.

The book ends with the possibility of future books in the series, however I am unsure if I would specifically pick up another book in the series.

I would recommend this as a nice gift for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang fans and for children aged 9+ due to complexity of some words within the text.

I received this book from The Amazon Vine Programme.

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