boy-chasing-Flapjax

Chapter 5, Post 2: The Trouble with Being a Bear

Estimated read aloud timing: 4 minutes

(Have you read Chapter 5, Post 1: Flapjax for Sale yet? If not, we recommend starting there!)


Flapjax was in a bit of a pickle…

He had meant to play a fun joke on Libby. Now he was stuck high up on a shelf with a bunch of other stuffed bears who wouldn’t even talk to him. And to make matters worse, he was in his least favorite place in the entire world (the mall!).

Bears-on-shelf

Worst of all, Libby was gone. He glanced around at the bears around him and pouted.

Why were they so mean? Couldn’t they see he was upset and needed help? But they just sat there and watched the humans walking around the store.

How was he going to get home? Or was Libby coming back for him?

He couldn’t just sit around and wait like all the other bears. He needed to find Libby.

Flapjax couldn’t drive–humans wouldn’t give a bear a license. In all fairness, he couldn’t reach the pedals, nor could he see over the steering wheel, so that was probably the right decision. But it made getting home quite difficult!

He had to get to a phone. He would dial his phone number and his humans would know it was him…they would have to!

But where could he find a phone? Flapjax pondered his options as he watched all the humans come and go. Most of them were on their cellphones, typing away with speedy thumbs. Flapjax didn’t have thumbs, but maybe, just maybe, his paws were small enough to hit the right places on the screens.

He had to at least try.

Continue reading “Chapter 5, Post 2: The Trouble with Being a Bear”

Flapjax-on-toy-shelf

Chapter 5, Post 1: Flapjax for Sale

Estimated read aloud timing: 5 minutes


You’ve met Flapjax, right? Well, Flapjax – our extremely lovable and cuddly bear buddy who just occasionally gets into sticky situations – is what his human parents like to call “impatient”. Libby, his human best friend says he just likes activities (she gets him).

Sometimes, Flapjax and Libby have to do things they don’t especially like to do (but you’ve read about Flapjax at church, so you know all about that). Luckily even in the most boring of situations, they still had each other, and that was usually enough to get them through.

Usually.

However, if there was one thing Flapjax couldn’t stand, it was the horrendously, astoundingly, mind-numbingly boring task of shopping for new clothes.

For one thing, Flapjax was perfectly happy with just the occasional hat. For another, his weekly church suits were itchy enough to make him almost want a bath afterwards. (Almost.) And if that wasn’t bad enough, teddy bears were everywhere at the shopping mall. Flapjax much preferred to be one-of-a-kind.

Yankee-Flapjax

And have you ever been to a mall? Unfortunately for Flapjax, malls were everywhere in New Jersey, where he lived with Libby and his parents. Malls are also very large. Flapjax was very small. Walking across very large malls with very small legs is exhausting!

So when Libby snagged Flapjax up from a delightful nap and told him they were going shopping, he knew he was in for a difficult day.

Once in the children’s department, Mom went right to work rummaging through the racks of clothes while Libby and Flapjax bee-lined for the toy section. But it wasn’t long before Mom’s voice rang out to them.

“Libby! Flapjax! Let’s go to the fitting room, come on.”

Libby rolled her eyes at Flapjax, but like the good daughter she was, she scrambled up and ran to join her mother for the terrible task of trying on clothes.

Continue reading “Chapter 5, Post 1: Flapjax for Sale”

Tattood Pirate Flapjax

Chapter 4, Post 3: The Great Escape

Post timing: 6 minutes

(Have you read Chapter 4, Post 1: Flapjax and the Fancy Pants yet? If not, we recommend starting there.)

The evil sea captain, Tommy Bananas (Libby’s cousin and enemy pirate), flashed Flapjax a menacing grin. Flapjax did not grin back — he might have been forced to join the ranks of Tommy’s notorious pirate crew, but he did NOT have to like it. And once he had the chance, he would escape.

Pirate hat

Unfortunately for Flapjax, Tommy Bananas had other plans in mind.

Tommy let out a low, wicked laugh as he tied Flapjax’s paws down to a wooden table lined with colorful markers.

“Yesssssss,” Tommy Bananas sneered, rubbing his hands together with excitement. He uncapped the red marker and poised it above his fluffy canvas. “I have plans for you, Flapjax…”

The pirate laughed and laughed as he began to draw.

*****

Libby paced the little island she was now stranded on. How dare Bananas. How dare he kidnap her best friend. If he hurt Flapjax, Libby would never speak to him ever, ever again. She wracked her brain to come up with a rescue plan, but her mind kept wandering back to poor Flapjax.

What if Tommy did hurt him? What would she do without Flapjax?

She paced some more, and then she started to cry.

Continue reading “Chapter 4, Post 3: The Great Escape”

Flapjax facing Tommy Bananas

Chapter 4, Post 2: Bear-napped!

Post Timing: 4 minutes

(Have you read Chapter 4, Post 1: Flapjax and the Fancy Pants yet? If not, we recommend starting there!)

Flapjax awoke with a start. His paws were tied behind him, and he could not see a single thing. He was a prisoner of Captain Tommy Bananas, the notorious pirate (and Libby’s despicable cousin).

Flapjax fumed.

He tried desperately to untie the knots around his paws. He bent and pulled in all directions, but his efforts were futile! He was never going to escape, not on his own.

He silently screamed for Libby, hoping she could sense his positioning – like when they were playing hide-and-seek and she always knew where he was. (Libby would tell you that was because Flapjax always forgot to hide his tail, but Flapjax was pretty sure she was telepathic.)

Suddenly, Flapjax heard heavy, booted steps approaching. A door on the other side of the dark room opened and the sneering face of Tommy Bananas appeared in front of Flapjax.

Flapjax gulped loudly. He had lost his pirate-y eyepatch in the water when his ship, the Fancy Pants, had capsized (an event maybe – okay, probably – of his doing, but that was beside the point right now). As he stared up at Tommy who sported his characteristic banana bandanna on his head and a long sword at his waist, Flapjax felt significantly less brave than he had at the start of this adventure. How could he fight another pirate without any pirate gear? He felt like a fraud.Flapjax facing Tommy Bananas

Tommy Bananas laughed maniacally at him.

Continue reading “Chapter 4, Post 2: Bear-napped!”

Pirate Flapjax

Chapter 4, Post 1: Flapjax and the Fancypants

Post timing: 5 minutes

“Land, ho!” Captain Libby shouted as waves crashed onto the deck of their glorious ship, the Fancypants. Flapjax peeked through his eyepatch up at Libby, waving.

Pirate Ship“Hard to port!” Libby shouted, and First Mate Flapjax manned the helm. The ship moved to the right.

“Flapjax!!” Libby shrieked. “Port is left. LEFT.” Flapjax scowled up at her, confused. She pointed in the actual direction of ‘port’ and Flapjax grumbled under his breath as he moved the wheel in the opposite direction. How was he supposed to know that ‘port’ meant ‘left’ in pirate? Geez.

The long sail caught a gust of wind, and the Fancypants took off, whooshing across the open sea with grace.

Arrrrrrrrgh, but she was a beaut, wasn’t she? Flapjax stood tall at the helm, smiling in his glory as he navigated through the waves.

Pirate Flapjax

All of a sudden, a loud BOOM echoed across the open seas. A cannonball crashed in the water, just missing their ship by a measly few inches! The crew of the Fancypants (in other words, Flapjax and Libby) flung themselves to the deck in terror.

Continue reading “Chapter 4, Post 1: Flapjax and the Fancypants”

Flapjax in the golden safe

Chapter 3, Post 3: Flapjax and the Golden Safe

Post timing: 4 minutes

(Did you read Flapjax at Church? If not, we recommend starting there.)

Flapjax knew he couldn’t escape completely – not only was the doorknob several feet above his head, but he also didn’t really want to leave. You see, Flapjax knew he would not survive out in the wild. He had been domesticated for far too long and was no longer a wild bear. Flapjax was generally okay with this…he had gotten used to his warm cozy bed and eating all the food he wanted without having to travel any further than the kitchen. Plus, he loved Libby and his family…even if they annoyed him from time to time.

So instead of leaving, Flapjax padded around the lobby of the church, looking for something to occupy his time.

Soon his stomach began to growl, and he realized he had not eaten anything for breakfast before church. He wondered if there were snacks anywhere to be found.

Flapjax began hunting through the rooms attached to the church lobby. There, he noticed what looked like a small gold-colored cubby in the wall above his head – like a safe in the movies! His imagination began to run wild. What could the church be hiding in there? It must be very valuable to be hidden in a golden safe. Could he figure out how to get into it? He had to at least try, of course.

Flapjax spotted a bench perfect for climbing on the far side of the lobby. It was quite heavy, and he was out of shape (it was winter, give him a break). It was slow going, moving the bench across the floor. Some of the carpet came with it across the lobby to where Flapjax aimed it under the golden safe. Well, he would have to deal with that mess later…

The golden safe was decorated with carved images of people. They must be important people, Flapjax thought as he pawed at the edges of the safe, trying desperately to open it. He pawed and pawed and finally the door opened.

Continue reading “Chapter 3, Post 3: Flapjax and the Golden Safe”

Chapter 3, Post 2: Flapjax’s Temptation

Post timing: 4 minutes

(Did you read Flapjax at Church? If not, we recommend starting there.)

Flapjax moved slowly through the rows and rows of people, avoiding all of the feet as he tried to escape. But on his way, he came across a great temptation. Shoelaces. Untied. Just waiting for someone to find…and “fix”…

Flapjax quickly tied the two sets of shoelaces together to opposite shoes before moving on. Every few rows, he would come across more laces, either untied or almost untied, and he repeated this process.

He was almost through the rows of benches when he sensed trouble. He heard the shuffling first, as all of the humans in their puffy winter jackets began to move. Suddenly, as Flapjax was poised in the middle of a row, he noticed a long bench falling quickly in his direction.

He tried to scramble away, but he wasn’t fast enough. (He blamed the cookies from last night.)

The bench fell on top of him, pinning him down to the ground. He let out a loud yelp as he was crushed under the weight of the bench and the humans kneeling angelically on top of it.

Libby heard the yelp and recognized it immediately. She knew Flapjax was in trouble – or (more likely) causing it. She looked around her own bench, but she knew he would not be there. Libby was worried, but also quite mad at Flapjax. She knew what kind of trouble he was capable of, and it was certain to result in no bakery for them that day.

But all she could do was wait…and pray…

*****

Flapjax stuck under the bench

Continue reading “Chapter 3, Post 2: Flapjax’s Temptation”

Chapter 3, Post 1: Flapjax at Church

Post timing: 4 minutes

Flapjax, our lovable hero (and very cuddly teddy bear), and his best friend, a human girl named Libby, did everything together.

Sometimes Libby took Flapjax on fun trips — like in the summer when they went to the boardwalk to ride the roller coasters and bumper cars and play skeeball until they ran out of quarters. But sometimes Flapjax was dragged to places like the mall…boring! (Although, there was certainly a good amount of mischief he could find around the mall – but, that is a story for another time…)

Each week, Flapjax was dragged along on a particular trip that he always dreaded. For Dapper Flapjaxone thing, he was forced to take a bath and comb his fur the night before. Baths are the worst, and have you ever tried to comb out fur?? It is NOT a simple task. After bathing, he would have to put on his fanciest clothes…clothes he was never allowed to get messy, which is quite hard when you are a bear and “Mischief” is your middle name. And finally, they would walk all the way across their tiny town for…CHURCH.

Have you ever been to church? If you’re like Flapjax and Libby, every Sunday you have to be on your absolute best behavior and pay attention for a whole hour as grown-ups talk at you and give you mean looks if you so much as make a peep. This is quite difficult for human children like us and Libby, but it is particularly difficult for Flapjax, who was made for fun. Try as he might, each week was a struggle.

One Sunday, after an exciting Saturday night where Flapjax was allowed to stay up late baking (okay, mostly eating) cookies, Flapjax REALLY did not want to go to church. He was tired and grumpy, because who could sleep after all of that excitement?! When Libby nudged him, trying to wake him up, Flapjax ferociously kicked at her.

“We’re going to be late, Flapjax! Dad’s already outside waiting for us!”

Flapjax just threw the covers over his head and curled up in a ball so Libby couldn’t get him.

“You’d better come! Mom and Dad said we can go to the bakery after if we’re good…and I really want a doughnut!”

Bakery…?

Continue reading “Chapter 3, Post 1: Flapjax at Church”

flapjax the bear in a sink bubble bath

Chapter 2, Post 3: Let the Games Begin

Post timing: 4 minutes

(Did you read the first two posts in this story? If not, we recommend starting with Flapjax the Olympian.)

Flapjax glided gracefully across the ice of the fishpond. He leapt and spun, and while he was on paws instead of skates, he was pretty sure he was just as good as any Olympian.

As the sky grew darker and the air colder, Flapjax realized he needed to abandon his practice and head back inside.

Before leaving the ice for good, Flapjax rounded the pond one last time before sliding to center rink to complete one final, glorious spin. And that’s when he heard it – a cracking sound coming from beneath him. He gulped and tried to softly slide to the edge of the pond. Unfortunately, a stuffed bear soaked in snow is heavier than he appears, and after just a few careful steps, the ice shifted under his feet. Before he knew what was happening, Flapjax was falling through the ice into the dark, frigid water.

flapjax the bear falling through the iceHe was under the water in seconds. Luckily the pond was shallow, and when he hit the bottom, Flapjax pushed his hind legs off from the slimy pond floor and flew back up to the surface, panicking. He performed this move a few more times, arms flailing as he surfaced, trying to grasp something – anything – to pull himself out of the water. But there was nothing around him but ice…

*****

Flapjax never gave Libby enough credit. Did he really think that she wouldn’t realize he had snuck away? All he had done lately was sit in front of the TV, staring at the Olympians. And Flapjax was never one to ignore the smell of treats, even at his grumpiest.

So when Flapjax failed to return to snack and snuggle, Libby knew he was up to something no good. She searched the house for him, but he was nowhere to be found. And that was when she noticed the back door had been left slightly open.

Libby started to cry – Flapjax had run away! It was snowy out, and freezing cold! He couldn’t survive out there, not when he had been a house bear for so long! Even Flapjax’s snacking habits couldn’t have given him enough insulation in this weather, and he certainly wasn’t fierce enough to fight off the wild animals lurking out there…

Libby begged Dad to go search for him, and together they bundled up, putting on layers of snow pants and jackets and water-proof boots before heading out into the cold winter night.

*****

GoldfishFlapjax was ready to give up. He would just stay in the pond all winter, living with the fish he now saw huddled at the bottom to stay warm. (Fish were smart!) His fur would get pretty gross with all the pond slime, but that’s what baths were for. He shuddered at the thought. Baths were the worst.

But then he thought of Libby — she would be so worried. So he tried one final time to escape the cold, murky water of the fishpond.

Flapjax pushed with all his might off the bottom of the pond, leaping up, up, up through the surface of the water and into the air. And he kept going. He was flying!

Nope, not flying. Those were hands under his armpits.

It was Dad. And he did NOT look pleased. He held Flapjax’s dripping fur far away from him as he passed the soggy bear down to a teary, red-faced Libby. But Libby ignored the yucky green-brown pond muck that coated Flapjax’s typically white fur and squeezed him so hard all of the water he had soaked up in the pond ran out all over her.

But Libby didn’t care. She had Flapjax back.

*****

Mom, on the other hand, did care. She cared very much. She took one look at Flapjax, picked him up with two fingers, holding him as far away as possible, and plunged him into a waiting bubble bath in the kitchen sink.

flapjax the bear in a sink bubble bath

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Flapjax skating at the Olympics

Chapter 2, Post 2: Dreams of Glory

Post timing: 5 minutes

(Did you read Flapjax the Olympian? If not, we recommend starting the adventure there.)

Flapjax was officially obsessed. Each and every time he heard the glorious notes,“BUM-BUM-BA-bum-bum-bum-bum…”, resound from the TV, he marched to the beat until he was fixed directly in front of the screen. Perfect viewing position.

Libby loved the hockey games and would cheer with Dad whenever a fight broke out on the ice (which happened a whole lot, but for some reason the players only had to sit in time-out for a few minutes…if Flapjax got in a fight, he’d be punished for weeks! Unfair.). Hockey confused Flapjax though – it was so fast! And there was no music to move your tail to.

Flapjax preferred ice skating.

Ice skating was a fantastic sport. The skaters got to dress up and dance all by themselves on a big empty rink while everyone else watched. Ice skaters were stars.

And on top of it all, the audience threw flowers and stuffed animals to the ice skaters when they were finished! Now that was a Flapjax-approved sport.

Each night, Flapjax fell asleep dreaming of skating to glory at the Olympics…

Flapjax dreaming of skating in the Olympics

But as I am sure you have realized by now, dreaming is never quite enough for Flapjax. And when the weather outside turned snowy and frigid, icicles dangled from the edge of the house, and the only sport on during the day was the luge (which scared Flapjax to death), he got an idea.

Flapjax figured that if it was cold enough for icicles, then it was cold enough for ice on the fishpond out back in the yard. Ice meant ice skating, and Flapjax was dying to test out his skills.

Now, Flapjax rarely had a hard time convincing Libby to do something fun, but when he told her about his skating plans, she looked at him with a crooked eyebrow that silently said “You’re crazy, Flapjax,” which naturally made Flapjax angry.

Libby refused to go tramping through the backyard when it was freezing out, just to find a pond that might or might not be frozen enough to skate on. Plus, she had hot chocolate and movies to watch inside where it was toasty warm. But chocolate was bad for bears, and Flapjax never got any, which always made him grumpy.

Libby suggested they make a big bowl of popcorn with lots of butter — a treat that normally made stubborn stuffed bears more agreeable. But Flapjax was already in a mood and was not to be convinced.

And so as Libby and Mom positioned themselves in front of the popcorn maker, and as the noise of the popping kernels drowned out everything else, Flapjax tip-toed through the kitchen and out the back door.

*****

Unfortunately for Flapjax, while a few inches may not be that much snow for most people, for a tiny stuffed bear gung-ho on hiking across the whole backyard, it was pretty devastating. Flapjax stared at the snow in front of him. It was already up to his tail!

But he wouldn’t give up – that’s not Flapjax’s style.

He made his way across the back porch and down the steps, slipping and sliding as he went. On the second step, Flapjax felt his feet move out from under him without his approval, and before he could think, he was flying down the rest of the steps until he landed hard on the cold concrete, smack on his backside.

But Flapjax was not to be stopped — not by Libby, not by the delicious aroma of popcorn he could still smell coming from the house, and certainly not by a little bit of snow. He kept picturing the ice skaters he had seen on TV, and he longed to be one more than anything. He had to at least try!

So Flapjax stood up straight, shook off the snow that had made its way onto his fur, and started on his march through the backyard.

*****

After what felt like hours of pushing his way through snow piles, Flapjax was pretty grumpy. He was going to make it to the pond if it took all night! (But he really didn’t want it to take all night – it was so cold, and Flapjax was still kind of scared of the dark (don’t tell Libby)). So he hoofed and hoofed, hoping he could get there before it was too late.

All of a sudden, Flapjax stumbled.

“Ouuuuuch!” Flapjax thought as he sat and rubbed his toe. What had he walked into? He felt around until he found a stone frog. It had been completely covered by the snow.

stone frog statue

He’d made it! The fishpond!

Flapjax crouched down and used his paws to wipe away snow from the surface of the pond. Yup, it was nice and icy beneath the snow. He couldn’t see any fish though – he hoped they were warm enough!

Without another second of hesitation, Flapjax began walking out onto the ice, creeping gently across the surface of the pond.

*** Finish the Olympic adventure! ***

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