Chitty Chitty Bank Bang Over the Moon (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang #4), by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Eight stars

  The excitement continues in this final instalment of the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang series, as Frank Cottrell Boyce pushes the reader to their limits. Stuck in 1966 without a vehicle, the Tootings have little hope of retrieving Chitty Chitty Bang Bang from Tiny Jack and Nanny. Mr. Tooting surmises that their only hope will be to locate Commander Pott and the rest of the family, who could destroy the original vehicle, thereby keeping it from ever having fallen into the hands of nefarious villains. They locate the Commander as he rushes away in the original car, but before they have time to contemplate their options, the Tootings discover that the clock tower of the Houses of Westminster (yes, the one holding Big Ben) has been turned into a makeshift aircraft, circling the earth. Subsequent events help the reader to realise that the Commander and Mrs. Pott are aboard the tower, along with Baby Harry. Teaming up with Jeremy and Jemima Pott, the Tootings soon discover that Commander Pott is trying to reach out to them to explain the dastardly plan Tiny Jack has put into motion. With a revamped 1960s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the Tootings and Pott children work together and head out for the North Pole, only to be caught in yet another web laid for them by Nanny. It is at this point that Tiny Jack reveals all; that he has hopes of taking Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to the moon to add to his cause célèbre. Through a series of dastardly games and revelations the Tootings and Potts must work together to turn the tides, or Tiny Jack and Nanny will add another layer to their growing legacy of infamy, leaving the world unable to stop them and Chitty firmly in their grasp. The fastest and most complex of all the stories, Cottrell Boyce leaves little time for the reader to catch their breath before delivering the final punch!

From the ‘chronojuster’ to Count Zborowski and even into the world of lost-cities, the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang series has taken the reader through time, space, and into the far-reaching crevices of the heart. When I started the series as a buddy read, I was not sure I would be pulled in, but had agreed to something a little light-hearted. Now that we have reached the end, it is as if I am slightly deflated that this zooming vehicle of multiple permutations has finally left for good. As with the previous sequels, Cottrell Boyce pulls together many of the exciting characters and storylines to keep the reader hooked on what is going on. This story is surely the most complex and action-filled, as it deals with time and space travels, as well as trying to tie off all the loose ends laid out in past books. There is a sense of finality that will allow the reader some semblance of peace, though the door remains open just a little to the possible return of Chitty and some of the characters. From the Pott Family through to the Tootings, both Ian Fleming and Frank Cottrell Boyce have laid the groundwork for a wonderful children’s series that can be enjoyed by readers of all ages. I thoroughly enjoyed all four books and would recommend it to anyone, either as a solo, group, or buddy read.
Kudos, Mr. Cottrell Boyce for taking up the series and allowing a new generation of readers to explore the magic of all things Chitty!

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the Race Against Time (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang #3), by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Eight stars

As I continue to explore the adventures of this most exciting vehicle, I have come to see why young readers the world over would be drawn to this series. Frank Cottrell Boyce offers up a cute and informative piece that will surely last the test of time. Picking up where the previous story ended, the Tootings find themselves in an epoch of which they are not familiar, with a Tyrannosaurus Rex breathing down their necks. Apparently, the ‘chronojuster’ has the capacity to toss Chitty Chitty Bang Bang through time, an added layer of excitement for the Tootings. When Mr. Tooting is able to manoeuvre the family away from the meat-eaters and into a more current period, they find themselves in the heart of the early 1920s New York City, where Chitty’s famed creator, Count Zborowski, greets them warmly and challenges them to race in his newly perfected Chitty Chitty Bang Bang II. After some finagling and fine-tuning of the original Chitty, the Tootings take along a young racing enthusiast in hopes that the chronojuster will help propel them to more adventures. Their ultimate goal, to find the Pott family, original owners of Chitty, so that they might erase any remnant of Chitty’s creation. Why get rid of such a handy vehicle, you might ask? Super villains Tiny Jack and Nanny are still on the hunt for Chitty, hoping to add her to their collection to undertake dastardly plans. The Tootings bounce around time, in search of the Potts Family and trying to dodge all that time travel can toss their way. After a makeover in the Amazon, Chitty is ready to face anything that might be placed before her, taking the Tootings along for the ride of their lives. However, Nanny’s spun a web and cannot help but hope to snag Chitty before all is said and done. A wonderful continuation of this series that enthrals young and mature readers alike.

Starting this series as a buddy read, I was so pleased with it presentation that I chose to continue reading all the newer adventures left for young readers. Cottrell Boyce continues to dazzle readers with the adventures of a newer family while keeping the memories of Ian Fleming’s original theme in the forefront of the narrative. A time-travel theme allows for a new round of delightful characters, all of whom add to the fast-paced narrative. Cottrell Boyce presents an interest story, working on a new angle to keep readers curious and free from being able to predict what is to come. While geared to the young reader, the story plays out in such a way that it is not overly cheesy and a more mature (read: adult) reader can equally enjoy the journey through time. I am eager to see what comes next in the Chitty series and will keep these books in mind for when my son is a little older.

Kudos, Mr. Cottrell Boyce for keeping the series fun as well as informative for the reader. While you have taken oven from Ian Fleming, I am confident that his estate is well-pleased with what you’ve been able to do.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang #2), by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Eight stars

Having begun this series with the Ian Fleming classic, I thought it a good idea to continue on, under the guidance of Frank Cottrell Boyce. Moving the story into the present day, the young reader is introduced to the Tooting Family, with a mom and dad, as well as Lucy, Jeremy, and baby Harry. When Mr. Tooting announces that he has major news, he shares that he’s been sacked from his job, which means the family is without a vehicle. Noting the crossroad in their lives, Mr. and Mrs. Tooting agree to take the family on the adventure of a lifetime, but will need a vehicle to match. After they secure a camper van, the Tootings are almost ready to go, but Mr. Tooting takes Jeremy with him to the local scrap yard to find a few items that might be useful to ensure the camper van is ready for all its adventures. There, the duo discover an old Zborowski engine, a famous racing vehicle from the 1920s. Mr. Tooting has grand ideas and turns the camper van into a speeding monstrosity, while Jeremy is unsure what to expect. When the family is ready to head out, they begin the journey towards Paris, where Mrs. Tooting has always fancied going. Their trip takes a turn when the camper van sprouts wings and begins to sail through the air. Panicked and unsure what is going on, the Tootings hold on for dear life until they find themselves atop the Eiffel Tower. The authorities and local media outlets scramble for an explanation, which leads to a mysterious phone call and the subsequent renaming of the camper van to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, a name the Tootings think quite odd, but who are they to protest. From there, Chitty takes the family over to the Sphinx and more adventures. However, super villain Tiny Jack has been watching the Tootings and their vehicle, with a plot of his own and a fiendish assistant named Nanny. What will come of the Tootings and is there more to these vacation destinations than meets the eye? Cottrell Boyce pulls his readers in and does Fleming great justice with this sequel, where the adventure never seems to let up.

It was a buddy read that had me begin this series, but I am pleased that I took the time to delve in, as the adventures are wonderful. Cottrell Boyce ties the previous novel to this one in a masterful manner, offering breadcrumbs to the attentive reader, while entertaining those who may be new to the series. A new collection of characters keeps the story going and offers a wonderful new realm of adventures. With just the right amount of evil villain to keep young readers curious and yet not petrified, Cottrell Boyce delivers a jam-packed adventure that one can only hope will continue with the next in the series. Paced perfect and with a peppering of corny storylines, this is the perfect tale for a young reader with a taste for the adventurous.

Kudos, Mr. Cottrell Boyce for working along the Fleming framework and keeping children enthused as they are educated about the ins and out of motors in all their forms.