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.

Continue reading “Ch. 7, Post 3: Flying Flapjax”

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!

*****

Continue reading “Chapter 7, Post 2: Flapjax Saves the Day”

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.

Flapjax-in-suitcase

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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…)

ivy

Continue reading “Chapter 6, Post 3: Fa-bewm!”

camo-flapjax

Chapter 6, Post 2: Flapjax Finds a Way

Estimated read aloud time: 4 minutes.

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


Flapjax dove into the brush on the side of the woodchip path, narrowly avoiding another whooshing arrow.

How could he rescue Libby? He couldn’t even stand up without getting an arrow shot at his stuffing.

Flapjax belly-crawled along the path, ignoring the woodchip splinters and bugs along the way. He was no longer afraid of all the creepy crawly creatures that lurked under every leaf. He had more important things to think about, like rescuing Libby. Flapjax made it to safety behind a big, fallen tree trunk and paused to catch his breath and think.

Flapjax peered out from behind the tree trunk. The neighbor boys were using a big wooden plank to cross a rushing stream to an island on the other side. Once they made it across, they pulled the plank bridge back with them, out of the reach of any paws.

Flapjax was mad. They couldn’t take his best friend, not without a fierce Flapjax following in their tracks! He was a bear after all, and bears were expert trackers…

But first, he needed ammunition of his own. He searched the ground for a good branch, and he found it in a pile of old, wet leaves. It was nice and bendy, perfect for a bow. Then he picked a bunch of loose twigs and put them in his pack. Bow and arrows, check!

He also needed camouflage, otherwise the neighbor boys would easily spot his bright white fur. Flapjax grabbed a handful of mud and ran his dirty paws across his face and tummy and down both arms. Then he tied together clusters of ivy and stuck them on top of his ears for a finishing touch. Camouflage, check!

camo-flapjax

Flapjax stole a look at his reflection in a little pond beside the path. He looked pretty intimidating, if you asked him.

Next, he needed to find a way across the stream to the island. Continue reading “Chapter 6, Post 2: Flapjax Finds a Way”

Libby-and-Flapjax-exploring

Chapter 6, Post 1: Downtheback

Estimated read aloud timing: 5 minutes.


Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, there was a magical land called Downtheback. Downtheback wasn’t on any maps. If you asked most people, they wouldn’t even know what it was. But Flapjax and Libby knew, and they knew how to get there.

flowersOn one particular springtime day, Libby and Flapjax packed their bags and prepared for their next adventure: a mission to explore Downtheback.

Libby, who was extremely organized and careful, packed things like band-aids, a water bottle, and her notepad and pencils. Flapjax packed some snacks.

And then they were off!

Flapjax and Libby quickly made their way through the backyard. At first, they passed landmarks Flapjax knew, like the fishpond he had encountered on a previous backyard adventure. But before long, Flapjax couldn’t recognize anything. They walked around a massive tree and then down a big hill, and suddenly they couldn’t see the house anymore. Flapjax panicked for a moment, but Libby grabbed his hand and they continued on, looking around for a set of wooden steps that would lead them into Downtheback.

Libby-and-Flapjax-exploring

Continue reading “Chapter 6, Post 1: Downtheback”