flapjax-bear-playing-skeeball-arcade

Ch. 8, Post 3: Flapjax and the Great Arcade

After the ocean scare, Flapjax and Libby decided they were done with the beach for the day. So, after a quick trip to the hot dog stand for lunch, Flapjax and family made their way to the arcade.

Have you ever been to a beach arcade? They are the GREATEST. Hundreds of games and prizes, right on the boardwalk! Giant stuffed bears hung from the rafters…the ultimate goal for a girl and her furry best friend. All they needed were a few (thousand) tickets, and they could win one of those big bears.

They had $5 of Libby’s hard-earned chores money (Flapjax totally helped earn that) and one whole hour before they would be hauled off home for the day. Could they do it?

Libby liked the Jurassic Park game the most, so she beelined to the prime seat in the Libby-sized plastic Jeep. Flapjax stayed away from the racing games — they made him so dizzy! — and eyed the machine that would be his way to glory: the skee-ball machine.

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There was a row of skee-ball machines. Flapjax took his place in the lineup of human children, eyeing those on either side of him. They looked down at him and laughed…how could this little bear play skee-ball?

Flapjax inserted his quarter into the machine and waited as it groaned and spat out a line of mini bowling balls his way. Then, with a deep, calming breath, Flapjax lifted a ball out of its place and hurled it down the runway towards the bullseye.

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Flapjax-bear-lifeguard-stand-beach

Ch. 8, Post 2: Flapjax and the Queen

Flapjax was having the GREATEST DAY EVER.

Not only was he at his favorite place (the beach), but he had made friends with the queen of the beach. He glanced over at his new human friend as she regally reigned from her position on the lifeguard stand, and he smiled. This was much better than being stuck in a pile of sand!

The lifeguard blew her whistle with authority and motioned for swimmers to come closer. They kept trying to go out past the jetty, which was not allowed, not in her kingdom. Flapjax stood beside her on the lifeguard stand and helped her direct them. He was pretty good at assistant ruler, and he couldn’t wait for Libby to see him in his new job.

All of a sudden, the lifeguard queen jumped down from her throne and started sprinting across the sand, calling for her fellow lifeguards to join her. Someone was in trouble in the water.

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Flapjax-bear-in-sand

Ch. 8, Post 1: Beach Bum Flapjax

Life doesn’t get much better than summertime at the Jersey Shore. There is just something so glorious about baking on the beach, running around and getting sand in your fur, speeding in bumper cars, winning prizes for being the best at water guns, and eating all the ice cream a bear could want. As long as he stayed away from the crashing waves and the rolling tide of the ocean, Flapjax was in Heaven.

One hot, sunny day, as Libby and the grownups were splashing around in the waves, Flapjax was avoiding the water like it was his job. Baths were bad enough, but add slimy ocean creatures and sticky salt to that, and it was Flapjax’s nightmare. So instead of swimming, Flapjax passed the time building sandcastles and rummaging through the snacks Mom had packed for them.

After devouring a bag of homemade cookies, Flapjax yawned. He was desperately tired. Castle-building was tough work! And the sand was so soft and pillowy. Flapjax sprawled himself out on a beach towel under a big, colorful umbrella, laid his head down, and immediately started snoring.

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Flapjax-and-Pilot

Ch. 7, Post 3: Flying Flapjax

Flapjax gulped. A tall woman in a dark suit with gold bands along the sleeves and a cap that looked very official stared down at him.

Flapjax-and-Pilot

“Well, hello,” she said, kindly, bending down to pick Flapjax up. “What are you doing here?” Flapjax proudly pointed to himself and then to the rows and rows of soundly sleeping humans behind him. “Ahh, so you’re a helpful bear?” she asked, and Flapjax nodded seriously. He always tried, at least. “Well then, how would you like to help me fly the plane?” Flapjax nodded again excitedly. Boy, did he ever!

The pilot carried Flapjax into the cockpit and sat him down next to her while her co-pilot stared at Flapjax curiously. She strapped them both in safe and sound with a thick seatbelt. Buttons, dials and levers covered the dashboard in front of them. But Flapjax wasn’t looking at the dashboard, he was staring out the windows that covered the little room. They were on top of the clouds! He couldn’t even see the ground!

Flapjax was scared at first, but the pilot patted his back until he had calmed down. She had everything under control. Flapjax stared at her as she navigated their big plane with ease. He was in awe.

Flapjax watched with wide eyes as the world got bigger and bigger out the windows. They were almost there…although he wasn’t quite sure where “there” was. He had to get back to Mom.

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Flapjax-flying

Chapter 7, Post 2: Flapjax Saves the Day

Turns out, this flying thing was a bit more complicated than Flapjax had imagined.

Flapjax groaned as he threw up again in the bathroom at the back of the plane, where he had conveniently landed after his initial take-off adventure. He had been so excited for his trip, but now all he could think about was getting back home to Libby…that and flat, unmoving ground.

A throat cleared in the doorway. Flapjax turned to see a tall man in a fancy suit looking at him curiously. The man bent over and handed Flapjax a cup of something bubbly. Flapjax took it gratefully and gulped it down. Ginger ale, yum.Flapjax-plane-passenger

“So,” the man began, picking Flapjax up gently, “are you going to tell me what you’re  doing back here?” Flapjax shrugged. He wasn’t too sure himself. “Okay,” the man continued, “well I have to go bring snacks to everyone else. Can you be good and sit here by yourself until I get back?” The man pointed to a padded chair at the back of the plane. Flapjax nodded, but he had stopped listening at “snacks.” He snatched a bag of pretzels before settling down into his new seat. The man laughed then walked away down the aisle, pushing a heavy cart filled with sodas and juices and drawers and drawers of snacks.

Flapjax liked this man. He was clearly important. And he hadn’t made fun of Flapjax for being sick, which was nice of him. But as much as he liked the man and wanted to be a good bear for him, Flapjax was Flapjax, and it was only a matter of time before he got too fidgety and needed to find an activity.

He spotted a boy in a seat not too far from him. The boy looked a little older than Libby, and he was wide awake and awfully nervous.

Without a second thought, Flapjax was off to save the day!

*****

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Flapjax-in-suitcase

Chapter 7, Post 1: Stowaway Flapjax

Libby took really good care of Flapjax, and Flapjax was a good friend right back…well, usually. Sometimes he got them both into trouble, but that was never purposeful! And Flapjax loved his human parents. They watched over him and let him have really good snacks, and they were pretty fun most of the time (as long as they weren’t forcing him into a bath).

So, when Flapjax found out that Mom had to go on a work trip to a place far away – so far away that she would have to go on an airplane to get there – Flapjax knew his duty to the family. He was a cuddly bear, but he was also a protective bear, and he would be there to protect Mom on her trip and make sure she was cozy and comfortable the whole time.

Plus, Flapjax would get to fly…

Flapjax dreamed of flying, of seeing all of the fun places they usually only got to see on the map placemats that caught their spilled Cheerios, and he was pretty sure the states were not really pink and purple and blue and yellow. But if he could fly, he would know for sure. And this was his chance!

Unfortunately for Flapjax, Mom said he and Libby had to stay home with Dad. That meant all kinds of treats like staying up late, watching movies way past bedtime, and eating all the popcorn they could gobble down, so Libby wasn’t too disappointed. But Flapjax had his heart set on flying.

That night, after all his humans had gone to sleep, Flapjax tip-toed to Mom and Dad’s room, found Mom’s suitcase in the dark, and carefully, quietly unzipped it before hopping in and burying himself in a pile of clothes.

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Flapjax-falling-into-water

Chapter 6, Post 3: Fa-bewm!

Estimated read-aloud timing: 5 minutes.

(Have you read Chapter 6, part 1: Downtheback yet? If not, we recommend starting this adventure there.)


Flapjax fixed his ivy hat and grabbed his bow and arrows from where they had landed after his dive from the railroad tracks, and he followed the voices of the neighbor boys to a fort in the middle of the island.

Fort

There was Libby, sitting on a cut-up log on the side of the fort. She was busily drawing away on her notepad. Flapjax smiled. It was just like Libby to be focused on her mission while captive.

The neighbor boys were busy gathering sticks along the edge of the water. Flapjax didn’t know what the sticks were for, but he didn’t want to stay to find out. He crawled over to the fort then tip-toed around, edging along the side of the little fort until he was right behind Libby. He pulled out one of his arrows and gently tapped Libby’s back with the end of the stick. She screeched and jumped, turning around in all directions to find her foe.

“Flapjax!! What are you doing here?” She looked at Flapjax’s muddy face and her eyes grew very large. “You are filthy! Mom is going to flip out!”

Flapjax put his paw to his lips and pointed toward where the neighbor boys were playing beside the water.

“Are you here to rescue me?” Libby asked with a crooked smile. “You’re so brave, Flapjax!”

Flapjax stood up a little taller, proud of his accomplishment.

“But we can’t escape…they have weapons! We’ll be shot!

Flapjax grabbed dirt from the ground around him and threw it at Libby, covering her with mud and bits of leaves. Good, now she was camouflaged too!

“FLAPJAX! What are you doing? Now I’m going to be in trouble, too!”

First Flapjax needed to get them off the island and away from the enemy boys, then he would worry about what his punishment would be. (He was sure it would involve a bath at the very least…)

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