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One Present from Flekman's

Overview

As a treat, Grandpa tells Molly she can have one present from Flekman's. Just one. But Flekman's has everything: stuffed camels and stuffed bears, dolls that walk and dolls that wet, indoor games and outdoor games. How can Molly choose only one present?

Molly decides to try out a few toys. First she chooses a bear and takes it for a walk — not quite right. Then decides on a camra — so it takes pictures, so what? Pretty soon Grandpa finds her dressed as a pirate, piling up toys ...

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Overview

As a treat, Grandpa tells Molly she can have one present from Flekman's. Just one. But Flekman's has everything: stuffed camels and stuffed bears, dolls that walk and dolls that wet, indoor games and outdoor games. How can Molly choose only one present?

Molly decides to try out a few toys. First she chooses a bear and takes it for a walk — not quite right. Then decides on a camra — so it takes pictures, so what? Pretty soon Grandpa finds her dressed as a pirate, piling up toys like a treasure. Then, when Flekman's Feaver is at its highest, Molly comes up with a crafty solution to her problim. What will Grandpa do when Molly decides she wants it all, she wants everything, she wants Flekman's! As a treat, Grandpa tells Molly she can have one present from Flekmans. Just one. But Flekmans has everything: stuffed camels and stuffed bears, dolls that walk and wet, indoor games and outdoor games. How can Molly choose only one present? She wants EVERYTHING! As Flekman fever rises, Molly is swinging from the chandeliers and Grandpa is tied up in knots until Molly finally finds a crafty solution to her problem.

Author Biography: Alan Arkin was born in New York and attended Los Angeles City College and Bennington College. He is an award-winning actor and author who has starred in films, plays, and television shows. His books include: The Lemming Condition, The Clearing, and Some Fine Grandpa! He lives in Weston, CT.

Molly's grandfather offers to take her to a huge toy store in New York City and buy her one toy, but he does not realize what a difficult time Molly will have making a decision about what to buy.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Arkin The Lemming Condition offers a pressure-cooker comedy about the dangers of indecision and greed. Molly's Grampa suggests a trip to Flekman's, "the biggest toy store in the world." It's a fabulous idea, except for the catch: " `Maybe I'll get some toys there,' said Molly. `Maybe you'll get one toy there,' said Grampa." Molly pretends to accept this bargain, and the two soon stroll into showrooms teeming with games, dolls and other enticements. As Grampa fiercely sticks to his one-present limit, Molly devises wily strategies: she outfits one teddy bear with a host of auxiliary toys, requests one bag packed with playthings and finally decides she'd like Flekman's itself "It's one thing, isn't it?". Grampa finally loses his cool in the neurotic fashion of most Alan Arkin movie roles. Meanwhile, Molly succumbs to a rare case of "Flekmanitis"--more like Flekmanic-depression--that leaves her alternately berserk and stupefied. Caldecott winner Egielski Hey, Al; Buz punctuates the hectic narrative pace with mannerly vignettes and just a sprinkling of full-throttle action sequences. But the overflowing words often crowd the pictures off the pages; the illustrations get smaller as the tension rises. Even for satire, this humor has an unpleasant edge--Molly's behavior is more embarrassing than amusing. The denouement, in which Molly settles on a washcloth, feels medicinal, and the finale, in which Molly's ingenuity with the washcloth lands her a job at Flekman's, seems an attempt to scare up a happy ending. Ages 5-8. May Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Judy Katsh
Molly's grandfather has offered to buy her one thing from Fleckman's, the largest toy store in New York City and possibly the world. Well, anyone who has ever entered a toy store with a child with the intention to buy just one thing knows where this story's headed. The universality of Molly's inability to decide on the perfect toy and her vehement desire to amend Grandpa's offer to include all the toys she wants is painfully on target. Grandpa's reactions to Molly's time-consuming antics which range from boredom to tyranny to hunger, ring true as a toy shopping companion's lament. So far, the book with its humorous text, droll illustrations, and universal theme is a winner. But near the end, the fun's been had and Molly and her grandpa's situation gets more surreal than real. The resolution, which comes without warning and ends the story abruptly, belies the very wacky, but well known, ordinariness that's at the heart of this picture book's appeal. There is a lot to laugh at and enjoy here, but in the end many readers may find themselves in young Molly's position of wishing for just a little bit more.
Children's Literature
Kids may never have been to the fabulous F.A.O. Schwarz stores, but they will identify immediately with Molly when her Grampa takes her to Flekman's, "the biggest toy store in the world," and then tells her she can have just one toy--"That's the deal." Patient Grampa has to call the Carnegie Delicatessen (another New York landmark) to order lunch as Molly continues to explore, unable to choose. Arkin brings the tale to a humorous, albeit a bit strained, conclusion after Molly goes berserk with "Flekman's fever" when the store closes and she still cannot make up her mind. Egielski's colored drawings clearly and humorously visualize much of the frenetic activity, although the text is too lengthy for him to do much more than create the characters plus a few events, many in vignettes. More scenes like the double-page spread of stuffed animals would have better enlivened this fun-filled romp through a child's idea of heaven.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-A well-meaning grandfather takes his granddaughter to Flekman's, a wonderland of a toy store, with the agreement that she may select one toy. Overwhelmed and overstimulated, she is wracked by indecision while her grandfather becomes increasingly impatient. Matters spiral out of control until a completely obsessed Molly announces that she will only be satisfied with Flekman's in its entirety as a gift. When her grandfather refuses, Molly begins swinging from the light fixtures, and only the police and firemen are able to extricate her. The doctor is summoned, and he pronounces that she is suffering from "Flekman's fever," which can be cured only by warm milk and separation from all toys. In the denouement, Molly discovers that even a simple washcloth can serve as a delightful plaything, and the store manager is so taken with the washcloth concept that he hires Molly on as "head of the idea department." There is a certain illogic to the child being employed by the store only minutes after she has been instructed to avoid toys altogether. Additionally, the text is overly long, with small pictures arranged around it. The sense of the toy store's grand scale is lost because there are so few large illustrations. Molly's experience is funny, appealing, and nearly a universal one among young children. The story, however, suffers in its execution both visually and textually.-Rosalyn Pierini, San Luis Obispo City-County Library, CA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
NY Times Book Review
The advice here is that today's kids have more, want more, but may need less....The moral of the story...is that some things never change...
Kirkus Reviews
An overlong story features a girl who has the equivalent of a nervous breakdown at a toy store. Grampa invites Molly to come with him to the city; he offers to take her to Flekman's, "the biggest toy store in the world," where she can pick out a present. It's no surprise that Molly can't make up her mind: camera, teddy bear, doll, or one of many games. Molly tries out everything (store policy) while the salespeople are a spirited bunch who keep things at a fever pitch. So unstoppable is the girl that Grampa has to order out for lunch, all the while reminding her that she has a one-toy limit. Molly tries to piggyback toys on other toys; she attempts to stuff several toys into one bag. Molly snaps and goes wild until the forces of authority—who have seen it all before—are called to restore order. Molly ends up on a couch in the back room, a cool damp washcloth draped over her face, while Grampa collapses. Her choice of toy, then, is that homely washcloth, a decision that lands her a job on Flekman's creative team. Readers will feel as punished as Grampa by the end; although Egielski's illustrations—looser and with flatter perspectives than usual—are well-done, he doesn't turn that washcloth into anything that will excite envy or understanding. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060245313
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/28/2000
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.84 (w) x 11.33 (h) x 0.35 (d)

Meet the Author

Alan Arkin was born in New York and attended Los Angeles City College and Bennington College. He is an award-winning actor and author who has starred in films, plays, and television shows. His books include: The Lemming Condition, The Clearing, and Some Fine Grandpa! He lives in Weston, CT.

Richard Egielski is the Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator of Hey, Al and many other books for children, including the Tub People series by Pam Conrad. He is also the author and illustrator of Buz and Jazper, both New York Times Best Illustrated Books, Three Magic Balls, and The Gingerbread Boy. Mr. Egielski lives in Milford, New Jersey, with his wife and son.

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