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"Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" gets new life with sequels

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(Read caption) Ian Fleming was said to have been inspired to write "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" after seeing a series of aero-engined racing cars built by Count Louis Zborowski in the early 1920s.

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Quick: What was your favorite childhood book starring a flying car? The answer is easy: "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" by James Bond creator Ian Fleming. And if you missed the book you probably caught the 1968 movie starring Dick Van Dyke with a script by Roald Dahl.

Capitalizing on the book's nearly half-century of popularity, the family of Fleming have authorized three sequels to be written by novelist and screen writer Frank Cottrell Boyce. The original book tells the story of a car with magic powers that surprises the family that owns it by flying, swimming, and saving them from gangsters.

In the first sequel, scheduled to be published this November, Boyce says that the engine of the first Chitty Chitty Bang Bang will find its way into a family's souped-up VW camper van.

This is not the first time a Fleming book has received a posthumous sequel. The Fleming family have authorized a number of "official" James Bond sequels over the years. Charlie Higson has written a series of James Bond novels aimed at younger readers and a series of novelists (including Kingsley Amis, John Pearson, John Gardner, Raymond Benson, and Sebastian Faulks) have all published Bond sequels aimed at adult readers.

This spring yet one more Bond sequel will appear, to be written by best-selling thriller writer Jeffrey Deaver.

Marjorie Kehe is the Monitor's book editor.

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