The Flim Flam Man Book Reviews

Based on a true story, Darleen Bailey Beard's sparkling tale is told by tenderhearted Bobbie Jo, who embraces both a bully and a flimflam man and at the same time preserves her town's pride and pleasure.

Eileen Christelow's gentle but lively drawings complete the picture. Eileen has written and illustrated many books for children, including Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.


The FlimFlam Man has been honored as...

  • "Junior Library Guild Selection"
  • Featured on Discover Oklahoma
  • Play rights sold to La Jolla Playhouse, CA
  • A Bank Street "Best Book of the Year"
  • nominated Oklahoma Sequoyah Award
  • nominated Rhode Island Children’s Book Award
  • nominated Kansas William Allen White Award
  • nominated Washington Sasquatch Award

Reading level: Ages 4-8

Hardcover: 96 pages 
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1st ed edition (March 25, 1998) 
Language: English 
ISBN: 0374323461 
Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.3 x 0.5 inches

Kirkus--An easy-to-read tale based on a true incident that the citizens of Wetumka, Oklahoma -- in a classic case of making lemons into lemonade-- still celebrate with an annual "Sucker Day" . . . . flashily dressed and positively glowing with trustworthiness, Morrison (the flimflam man) cuts a genial figure in Christelow's comfortably casual black-and-white drawings. (Fiction. 9-11)

Based on a real episode in Wetumka's history, Beard's story is full of nostalgic American fun and lively fictional characters.  Bobbie Jo is especially appealing, and her gradually emerging friendship with mean Clara Jean Knox is believable and engaging.

Bulletin for the Children's Center of the Book
. . . . Kids will enjoy this easy chapter book (based on a true incident) because it's just a plain good yuarn, and afterwards it may engender some discussion about faith and gullibility.

The Horn Book-- Pointer Review
Ten-year-old Bobbie Jo Hailey, who stutters, admires the smooth-talking stranger who comes to her small town, until she learns he's a "flimflam man" who has sold the town tickets to a fictitious traveling circus.  Based on the actual 1950 event that spawned the Wetumka, Oklahoma, annual Sucker Day Festival, the narrative tells a rousing good tale of old-fashioned con artistry, illustrated with lighthearted drawings (by Eileen Christelow).



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