By Way of Introduction

This blog gathers together my reviews of speculative fiction books for kids and teens in which the central protagonists are multicultural. The reviews were originally published at my main blog, Charlotte's Library. I'm adding labels (a rather fraught process), so that people can find specific diversities...doubtless I"ll be tweeking them as I go.

This blog is a work in progress--I have well over 100 more reviews already written to add to it, and I hope I'll add many more new books, interviews, and other content about diverse books!

(also to come are links to other websites and blogs....)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the Race Against Time, by Frank Cottrell Boyce (2013)

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the Race Against Time (Candlewick, March 2013) is Frank Cottrell Boyce's second book about what happens when a modern family rebuilds the famous flying car, which takes them one fantastical adventures during which they must a powerful, twisted villain (Tiny Jack) who wants Chitty for himself.

The first book (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again, my review) ended when Mr. Tooting accidentally yanked Chitty's chronojuster, sending the family hurtling back into the Cretaceous.  Little Harry, the baby of the family, is thrilled to see his first T-Rex, but his sibling, Lucy and Jem, join their parents in a more adult reaction--terror.  Fortunately they escape, but Chitty doesn't take them home to England....she has an agenda of her own, and takes them to New York in the 1920s.

There she seems determined to compete against her maker's newer, shinier car in a cross-continental road race.  And the Tootings have no choice but to enjoy the ride, even when it takes them to the lost city of El Dorado in the Amazonian jungle...but in the meantime, the stage is being set for Tiny Jack to reveal his true, twisted, identity....and will the Tootings ever get home again? (and will Chitty win her race?).

In a nutshell:  fun time-travelling adventure.   Adjectives that could be used include "fresh" "bright" "zesty" and "absurd."  It is pleasantly absurd, without coming close to farce, even when little Henry's T-Rex egg hatches in New York city.  Numerous black and white illustrations add to the fun--I love the one of Chitty flying through the skyscraper canyons of Manhattan.

What makes this book particularly nice is that the Tootings are a family who care about each other--rare is it to see the mother and father along for the ride.  It's also nice that the Tootings are a multi-racial family.  This isn't mentioned in the text, and has no bearing on the story, but they are shown as such in the interior pictures.

This isn't clear on the cover though, where Mrs. Tooting is only a teensy bit browner than her family--pity.

So if you are looking for fun fantastic adventure to share with a 7-10 year old who hasn't lost his heart to to High Fantasy/Talking Animals on Quests/Mythological Creatures (naming no names, but looking right at my own 10 year old), you could do far worse than to fly through time and space with Chitty!

No comments:

Post a Comment