Fingerlings flying off shelves in toy stores

Every holiday gift-giving season toy stores, such as Fantastic Toys on the Upper East Side, stuff shopping bags full of familiar-looking containers of Legos, Nerf guns, Play-Doh, Barbies, and Hot Wheels. But every year one must-have new-coming one-season-wonder joins those staples, adding words like Rainbow Loom, fidget spinner, and Hatchimal to our vocabularies for a matter of months.

This year the honor seems to be going to the Fingerling, an interactive monkey that can go on your pencil or finger.

And at this way-too-early juncture in the 2017 holiday season, the chattering head-turning robotic digit-clinger represents the toy of the year. its appeal to parents, children, and toy vendors best explained by Fantastic Toys owner Dan Weiss.

"I have no idea," he says.

Which toys manufacturers, conventions, and sellers push to which of those toys kids and their friends gravitate and which of those toys parents actually buy remains a mystery to those like Dan trying to predict how best to stock their stores.

"There's no telling what makes it popular," he says. "It just is the item."

Fantastic Toys sold 96 Fingerlings in not even two days the last week of October, received another 96 on this day, and already sold 50 of them.

We found none of those 146 or fewer customers Monday or Tuesday.

"The buzz is just starting, but it's late," Dan says. "It's getting late early."

And Wowee only created so many of these robotic finger puppets and apparently has no plans to manufacture more of them before the holidays.

"From what we're told, no," Dan says. "It's potluck. You either find it or you don't."

So stores like Fantastic Toys continue ordering Fingerlings by the hundreds and waiting to see how many of these gurgling plastic finger-monkeys arrive.

"Nobody saw this one coming," Dan says." They're impossible to find."