Ian Fleming's beloved Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is back for more adventures. The last time we heard about the adventurous car, it was flying into the distance. Fleming, best known as the creator of James Bond, wrote Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in 1964 for his son Casper — and it was turned into a movie musical in 1968 starring Dick Van Dyke.
But that was nearly 40 years — isn't it time for a sequel? The family of the late Fleming asked Frank Cottrell Boyce, one of the U.K's best-selling children's authors, to pick up the story. So, Boyce got behind Chitty's wheel and created a new adventure: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again.
The Chitty Chitty estate is owned by Fleming's nieces; Boyce says they remember the great British author as a sort of "magical uncle" who was always full of great stories.
"The book has a place in their hearts," Boyce says. "They asked me to write the sequel. I was really flattered — but confused, I have to say — but really, really thrilled."
The next chapter of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang's life — as Boyce imagines it — starts with a father who's lost his job and is keeping himself busy by restoring an old Volkswagen camper van. One day in the scrapyard, he comes across an old engine, which turns out to be the engine of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
A full-family adventure ensues, which Boyce says is rare; kids' fiction often casts parents and grown-ups aside in the first few pages. "What charmed me about Ian Fleming's book was that the whole family was on the adventure. I loved that — it's so rare, it's so fresh," Boyce says. "I've really enjoyed writing the whole family for this one."
Writing the book was also an adventure for Boyce's whole family — especially his 11-year-old and 5-year-old sons. "I did genuinely read to them at the end of each day what I'd written that day," Boyce says.
He felt it was important to take his words out for a test drive — after all, he was working with sacred material.
"It did feel as though it wasn't my book," Boyce admits. "I'd borrowed this national treasure — that the Flemings had lent me this gorgeous car to drive around in, and it didn't really belong to me. I had to make sure that nobody scratched it or burst the tires."