A Sequel to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by the man who wrote the script for the Olympics Opening Ceremony will vie with a children’s book by Little Britain star David Walliams for the annual Roald Dahl Funny Prize.
The shortlist for the award, which celebrates the funniest books for children, was announced this week.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: Flies Again by Frank Cottrell Boyce, the screenwriter and author who collaborated with Danny Boyle on the acclaimed London 2012 opening show, is up in the ‘books for seven to 14-year-olds’ category, as is Walliams’ Gangsta Granny, about a jewel-snatching grandma.
It is the third book by Walliams to have been shortlisted for the prize, although he has yet to take the top gong.
In previous years he was in the running for The Boy in the Dress and Mr Stink, both illustrated by Quentin Blake, who famously worked with Dahl from 1975 until the author’s death in 1990.
Other nominees in the older kids’ category include Dark Lord: The Teenage Years, by Jamie Thomson, about a 13-year-old boy and his dread secret – that he is the earthly incarnation of the Dark Lord, bent on death and bloody ruin.
Mark Lowery’s Socks Are Not Enough will also fight it out for the prize, a tale described as “Adrian Mole meets The Inbetweeners”.
In the under-six category the shortlist includes Jonny Duddle’s The Pirates Next Door, which scooped the Waterstone Children’s Book Prize earlier this year.
Also nominated are Oliver Jeffers’ Stuck, about a young boy whose kite is stuck up a tree, My Big Shouting Day by Rebecca Patterson, about a grumpy toddler’s day of tantrums, and The Worst Princess, by Anna Kemp, which tells the story of a feisty princess trying to escape her twit of a princely suitor.
The prize, administered by the charity Booktrust, was established in 2008 by author Michael Rosen as part of his children’s laureateship.
He said: “On our shortlists we range from people who have to babysit a dragon, people who drive around in cars that fly, a young lad whose parents take up nudism, a good bit of shouting, things getting stuck up trees, and people not behaving properly - especially dogs and pirates.”
He described the contenders as "clever, odd, intriguing and above all funny stuff to read. In a word: delicious”.
For the second year running, the votes of more than 500 schoolchildren will also be counted, along with the judging panel's votes, to find the winner.
There is a £2,500 award in each category and the results will be announced at a ceremony at London’s Unicorn Theatre on 6 November.
The shortlists are:
For Children Aged Six and Under
- The Baby that Roared by Simon Puttock, illustrated by Nadia Shireen (Nosy Crow)
- My Big Shouting Day by Rebecca Patterson (Random House Children’s Books, Jonathan Cape)
- Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton (Walker Books)
- The Pirates Next Door by Jonny Duddle (Templar)
- Stuck by Oliver Jeffers (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
- The Worst Princess by Anna Kemp, illustrated by Sara Ogilvie (Simon & Schuster)
For Children Aged Seven to Fourteen
- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: Flies Again by Frank Cottrell Boyce, illustrated by Joe Berger (Macmillan Children’s Books)
- Dark Lord: Teenage Years by Jamie Thomson, illustrated by Freya Hartas (Hachette Children’s Books, Orchard Books)
- The Dragonsitter by Josh Lacey, illustrated by Garry Parsons (Andersen Press)
- Gangsta Granny by David Walliams, illustrated by Tony Ross (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
- Goblins by Philip Reeve, illustrated by Dave Semple (Marion Lloyd Books)
- Socks are Not Enough by Mark Lowery (Scholastic Children’s Books)