Ian Fleming scholar & young fans review: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang III

Candlewick and Ian Fleming’s estate are well on their way to a successful new series, based on Fleming’s world-renowned children’s book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car. Last year, Frank Cottrell Boyce wrote the first sequel—Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again—so we invited our Fleming expert, Benjamin Pratt, to review that effort. Since children are the intended readers, Ben invited his granddaughter Maddie to help him. (Here is their 2012 review.)

In 2013, for the third Chitty Chitty volume—Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the Race Against Time—Ben added his grandson Zach.

A Girl, a Boy and
Their Grandfather Review
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang …
and the Race Against Time


Ian Fleming wrote Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in 1964. In it, his character, Commander Pott gave some advice that James Bond would have heartily endorsed: “Never say ‘no’ to adventures. Always say ‘yes’. Otherwise you’ll lead a dull life.”

Frank Cottrell Boyce, author of the new Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the Race Against Time, has taken Commander Pott’s advice. His latest sequel is laced with one adventure after another.

The Tooting family, driving the sleek, elegant Chitty Chitty, pulls the Chronojuster. Wow! Time travel begins, and we are swept back to the Age of Dinosaurs, navigating the world of Tyrannosaurus Rex. The adventure continues to the 1920s in New York City where 12-year-old Jem Tooting outdrives the police while we are along for the ride. The Tootings meet Count Zborowski, inventor of the race car that was converted by Commander Pott into Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

If that is not enough adventure in one family’s life, they go to the Amazon where they meet two Queens and their people who own Eldorado, City of Gold. People were always coming to steal their gold, but Lucy Tooting changed all that by making fudge from a recipe found in Chitty Chitty’s log book that moved the people of Eldorado from a gold-based economy to a fudge-based economy. As young Lucy says “is loads better. In a fudge-based economy, no one ever has to be poor. In a gold-based economy, you can run out of gold. In the fudge-based economy, if you run out of fudge–make some more fudge. Your stress is at an end.”

Goldfinger is defeated again.

Oh, there are so many more adventures that you will discover when you read this exciting tale, but it is important to remember that behind all of this is a mission comparable to James Bond’s—to save the world from a supervillain. Jem Tooting says, “The entire world is being threatened by a super-rich supervillain called Tiny Jack and his evil nanny. Only Chitty Chitty Bang Bang can save the world. Without her, everything is lost. That’s what the Tooting family is doing here—we are on a mission to save the world.”

Well, my adventurous grandchildren, what do you think of this latest Chitty book?

MADDIE (13): I really liked this book so much more than the second book of the series that we reviewed last year. I liked the original story by Ian Fleming and enjoyed the first sequel by Boyce, but this book excels! In this tale, each adventure is unique and exciting, fun and well organized. It doesn’t drag at all. It is very imaginative and playful.

ZACH (10): I liked all the adventures, from escaping the T-Rex to fighting the Anaconda and later meeting the T-Rex in New York City, because it was hatched from an egg brought back from the Dinosaur Age. I really like the Prix d’Esmerelda’s Birthday Cake motor race that had Zborowski’s Chitty Chitty Two racing against the original Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Exciting! And I like the way the book ended as a cliff hanger. I know now: There will be another book coming!

Just like Chitty Chitty when he blows his claxton horn, you will be “Ga Goo Ga” over this exciting adventure story.

Catch Up on All Things Bond … James Bond

We recommend Dr. Benjamin Pratt’s Ian Fleming’s Seven Deadlier Sins and 007’s Moral Compass. In addition to his long career as a pastoral counselor, Pratt is a literary scholar who has studied the work of Ian Fleming—and uncovered Fleming’s own plan to explore what Fleming himself called seven even deadlier sins in his spy novels. For those who know Fleming’s complete body of work, that was not a far-fetched leap in his literary career. Fleming actually published a 1962 collection of essays by top British writers that he called The Seven Deadly Sins. Pratt’s book has been enjoyed by small groups in several countries around the world (including New Zealand and Panama); and his book has been used in discussion groups among U.S. troops, led by a small group of Army chaplains who found the book helpful in preventing depression. It’s a pefect choice for an autumn discussion series and Bible study in your congregation—drawing extensively on the New Testament book of … what else? James.

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