Book Review: Herbie the Love Bug Goes to Monte Carlo

by Vic Crume
Scholastic Book Services
1977
This great little paperback novel only cost me $4 even, and it’s turned out to be worth every penny. Of course, at $4, that isn’t saying much!
But seriously, the cover art alone is worth the price, along with the black and white photographs from the movie inside. The story is written in a simplified way for children, but gives some interesting insights into Herbie that didn’t come across in the movie.
Novel adaption of the third Herbie movie
To give you an idea of the style of writing, and how the book helps us to see Herbie in a more intimate way, here is a reprint of the opening lines:
What a sight!
Swinging safely in a cargo net from the big ship’s unloading crane, Herbie had a bird’s-eye view of the busy docks below. In fact, he could see quite a lot of the port city of Le Havre, France.
Herbie is a white Volkswagen bug with a big, bright “53” painted on his hood and sides, and the view wasn’t quite what he’d expected. A small frown crept between his pistons. Not a race track in sight! Odd! Herbie was sure that Jim Douglas, his driver, and Wheely Applegate, his mechanic, had brought him across the Atlantic Ocean especially to race. Then the cargo net started to descend, and Herbie spotted his friends down on the docks. He’d soon find out where he’d be taking them!
(break)
“There he is!” Wheely sang out when he saw the VW. “Look out Europe! Here comes Herbie!” They broke into a fast trot.
They knew their little white bug, Herbie, was someone extra special. Wheely knew every inch of Herbie  – from front to back bumper – and he had never located anything unusual tucked away in the fierce little racer, but he and Jim were sure that Herbie had a mind and a heart of his own hidden somewhere. No wonder they rushed to the unloading dock to meet Car 53.
I’m planning on reading the entire novel soon to enjoy more insights into Disney’s most famous car.
Stills from the movie
With all of the merchandise out there, I’m surprised that I have never come across a die cast model of Herbie, or rarely seen any type of Herbie collectible! For such a huge franchise, one would expect more product.
Be that as it may, I’m glad I found this book!
To conclude this post, I’ll leave you with the closing lines, that give us yet more insight into Herbie… and one of his co-stars:
In the shadows, two sets of headlights blinked gently on and off. Herbie and Giselle!
As they (Jim and Diane) watched, there was a gentle thump of two doors touching.
Softly, the Mediterranean moon beamed silvery light upon two silvery door handles. There was no doubt about it –
Herbie and Giselle were holding doors!
All together now: Awww!