Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

The Magical Car

Ian Fleming

Illustrated by John Burningham

Afterword by Fergus Fleming

Ian Fleming’s timeless children’s story about a flying car, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is given a magical makeover in a new Folio edition with an exclusive afterword by Fergus Fleming. 


Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Ian Fleming only wrote one children’s book but it became one of the best loved in Britain and beyond, and went on to inspire an iconic film with a script by Fleming’s friend Roald Dahl. Who couldn’t fail to fall in love with the antics of a decrepit ex-racing car saved from the wrecker’s yard and restored into a beautiful automobile with magical powers? Originally written as three standalone adventures, Chitty was based on bedtime stories the author told his son Caspar, and the first of them was eventually published just two months after Fleming’s untimely death.

This beautiful new edition pays homage to Fleming’s brilliant creation and includes every one of John Burningham’s unforgettable illustrations from the first editions. The author’s nephew, Fergus Fleming, has written an exclusive new afterword essay and this is illustrated with previously unpublished sketches, as well as photographs, some from the family archive, and Amherst Villiers’s original Chitty model designs.

Production Details

Bound in printed and blocked cloth
Set in Albertina with Sunbeat as display
184 pages
36 colour and 33 black & white integrated illustrations
Printed endpapers
Plain slipcase
10˝ x 7½˝

Exclusive afterword with drawings and photos

The story of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang begins long before the publication of the book and Fergus Fleming brilliantly retells the entire adventure in his essay exclusively included in this edition. The author’s actual life was almost as exciting as his stories – from espionage operations in the Second World War to a stint at the Sunday Times and building a retreat in Jamaica. Despite being a best-selling author, Ian Fleming was a novice children’s writer when he had the idea for Chitty. He loved blending fact and fiction in his work and the magical car was based on a real-life series of racing cars with almost the same name.

The afterword is illustrated with black-and-white photographs, as well as a letter from Fleming to his publisher and previously unpublished Burningham sketches. The original designs for Chitty, produced by automotive engineer Amherst Villiers, add the finishing touch to this truly outstanding edition – surely the most beautiful available.

Original John Burningham illustrations

John Burningham’s first children’s book had just been awarded the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal when his publisher Jonathan Cape was looking for an illustrator for Chitty. Burningham’s unique style – a blend of realism, charm and wit – got him the commission, and his brilliant interpretations of Fleming’s fantastical tales are now so closely associated with the text that his is the only artwork Folio considered.

Every original illustration has been beautifully reproduced for this edition, in full colour wherever possible, and they are integrated for a truly immersive reading experience. Burningham’s drawings also appear on the endpapers, while the retro-style binding features his portrait of the flying car. It’s no surprise that Burningham went on to become one of our best-loved and most highly regarded children’s illustrators, and one of only a few to win the coveted Kate Greenaway Medal twice: his talent leaps off every page.

About Ian Fleming

Ian Lancaster Fleming was born in London in 1908. He was educated at Eton College and abroad in Germany and Austria. After working as a stockbroker he became the assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence in the Admiralty during the Second World War. In 1952 he wrote Casino Royale, the first of 14 James Bond titles, of which 30 million copies were sold during his lifetime. He was married to Ann Rothermere and together they had one son, Caspar. He began to write Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in 1961 but it was only published shortly after his death, in 1964.

About John Burningham

John Burningham was born in Farnham, Surrey, in 1936. He studied illustration and graphic design at the Central School of Art and graduated with distinction in 1959. Many illustration commissions followed, including iconic posters for London Transport, before the publication of his first book, Borka: The Adventures of a Goose with No Feathers (Jonathan Cape, 1963), which won the Kate Greenaway Medal for Illustration and heralded the beginning of an extraordinary career. Burningham wrote and illustrated over 60 books for children which have been translated and distributed all over the world.  He also produced five books for adults. In addition to illustrating Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Jonathan Cape, 1964), he created Mr Gumpy’s Outing (Jonathan Cape, 1970), which was awarded the Kate Greenaway Medal, The Shopping Basket (Random House, 1980) and Granpa (Random House, 1984), which won the Kurt Maschler Award; and illustrated The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham (Penguin/Puffin, 1983), among many other much-loved books. Burningham died in 2019.

About Fergus Fleming

Fergus Fleming is a writer and publisher. The nephew of Ian Fleming, he edited The Man with the Golden Typewriter: Ian Fleming’s James Bond Letters (Bloomsbury, 2015).


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