More of a romp through time than a race against it (though a race does figure in), this second authorized sequel sends the reconstructed car with a mind of its own careening from the Cretaceous to the Jazz Age, Venezuela to the Wild West, while folding in references and tributes to Ian Fleming’s classic tale.
The Tooting family—Mum, Dad, Jem, Lucy and Little Harry—is again largely along for the ride, landing in the Cretaceous almost immediately when the car breaks down. The madcap escape from a pack of T. Rex becomes complicated when archvillains Tiny Jack and Nanny phone from the Tooting house far in the future. The race to support them leads to encounters with Counts Basie and Zborowski (the latter a racing enthusiast and the car’s original owner), two 16th-century queens of fabled El Dorado (who sheathe Chitty in gold before switching to a fudge-based economy) and, ultimately, the Potts clan from the original story. Berger festoons margins and full pages with monochrome sketches that nicely capture the helter-skelter pacing of Cottrell Boyce’s round of chases, kidnappings, narrow squeaks and mildly daring references to guns, liquor and “[t]hose leaves that make your head feel funny when you chew them.”
The wild ride leaves the Tootings in 1966, carless and in midpredicament. Expect further episodes. (Fantasy. 10-12)