Ivy and Bean Break the Fossil Record (4 page)

BOOK: Ivy and Bean Break the Fossil Record
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“That’s a good record,” said Ivy. “That’ll be fun.” She bounced a little on Bean’s bed.

“Okay,” said Bean, “I’ll need a wine glass. I’ll go get it.” She jumped up. And then she sat down again. Her dad was still sweeping up little pieces of plate. He probably wouldn’t be very happy to find out that she was planning to break something else. Maybe she could find something made of glass upstairs where he wouldn’t need to know about it. Not a mirror. That was bad luck. But there had to be something she could use. “I’ve got it!” she yelled.

“Got what?”

“Nancy’s glass animals. I’ll shatter one of them. It’ll be even better than a wine glass.”

“Won’t Nancy get mad?”

Bean pictured Nancy’s face and then quickly put it out of her mind. “No. She has gazillions of them, and besides, I’ll glue the animal back together when I’m done. She won’t even notice.” I hope, she added silently.

Ivy went on a spying mission down the hall, past Nancy’s room.

“The coast is clear,” she reported when she came back. “She’s not in her room.”

“Okeydoke,” said Bean. She took a deep breath and headed for the door on super-quiet tiptoe.

Nancy’s room was very organized. All her books were neatly arranged by color. Her yarn for knitting was rolled into tight balls. Her friendship bracelets were lying side by side on her dresser. And her glass animals were lined up in two long, straight rows across the top of her bookshelf. It was like a glass-animal army. Nancy had been collecting them since she was five. She had plain china cats and dogs and turtles—the kind that you can get at the drugstore—but she also had some fancy animals, too: tiny dolphins and horses and butterflies. She had a beautiful unicorn with a blue glass horn, and a peacock made of glass that shimmered like rainbows. Bean wasn’t going to hurt
him
. But right in the middle of the army was a gloopy-looking octopus with eight squiggly legs. That was the one, Bean decided. Its legs were thin. They would probably pop right off if she gave a good scream. And they’d be easy to glue back on. Nancy would never have to know.

Bean grabbed the octopus and stuffed it down her shirt, just to be safe. She tiptoed back to her room.

“Got it,” she said, setting the octopus on her dresser. She took a few short breaths to get in the mood and looked hard at the little octopus. Its gloopy head dangled on one side. “Prepare to die,” she told it and opened her mouth. Then she paused and looked at Ivy. “You might want to cover your ears.”

“Okay.” Ivy stuck her fingers in her ears.

Bean screamed as loud and high and shattering as she could.

The octopus just sat there. It didn’t even crack.

So Bean screamed again, louder than she had ever screamed before. But even through her scream, Bean could hear another sound. It was the sound of her father running up the stairs, very, very fast.

A second later, he burst through the door. “What?! What’s the matter?!” he shouted. His face was whitish gray.

Bean stopped screaming. “Nothing,” she said. “What’s the matter with
you
?”

WATCH YOUR TAIL, MARY ANNING

It was cold outside. The two girls squished into Bean’s tiny playhouse.

“How long do we have to stay out here?” asked Ivy.

“I don’t know. He said until dinner, but I don’t think he meant it.” Bean sighed. She knew he meant it. “Is your mom home?”

“Not yet, I don’t think.”

“Bummer.”

“He’ll let us in if it starts raining, won’t he?”

“Yeah, but I don’t think it’s going to rain,” said Bean, peering out the bitty window at the sky.

“Mary Anning used to go out hunting for fossils in storms. She didn’t mind,” said Ivy. “She built her own wooden tower next to the cliff where she saw the skeleton, and she lay down on it and chipped the ichthyosaur out of the cliff even though the tower was shaking and the rain was pouring down on her.”

“Why didn’t she just wait until it stopped raining?” asked Bean.

“She was afraid that the bones would get washed away in the storm,” explained Ivy.

“Wow.” Bean pictured herself lying bravely on top of a shaking wooden tower with rain falling in her eyes.

“It took her a year to get the whole body out,” Ivy added. “Chip, chip, chip, a tiny bit at a time.”

“A
year!
” yelped Bean. “Didn’t she get bored out of her mind?”

“No,” said Ivy. “It takes a lot of patience to dig up fossils.” She sat up and peered out the other bitty window of the playhouse. “Dinosaurs lived all over, you know.”

“I know.”

“There were dinosaurs around here, too. Not ichthyosaurs, but other kinds.”

“Maybe just little ones,” said Bean.

“Maybe just little ones,” said Ivy. “But still, dinosaurs.”

“I’ve always liked those little ones with the deadly claws,” said Bean.

“Mary Anning found fossils right on the top of the ground, but sometimes they’re buried deep in the dirt. We might have to dig for a long time before we find one.”

“That’s okay. We’re patient,” said Bean. She was beginning to get it.

“Where do you keep your shovels?” said Ivy. Bean loved to dig. Her shovel flashed, and dirt flew through the air. Soon, there was a nice, wide hole next to the trampoline. Ivy knelt beside it and ran her fingers through the dirt.

“We have to inspect every bit of it,” Ivy said. “Even slivers of bone are important to paleontologists.”

“What’s that?”

“That’s us,” said Ivy. “The people who dig up dinosaurs are called paleontologists.”

“Cool.” Bean felt cheerful. She loved the crunch of her shovel as it went into the earth. She loved hurling the dirt behind her without looking. Whee!

“Hey, watch out! You got dirt in my hair!” cried Ivy.

“We’re paleontologists! We can’t be afraid of a little dirt!” yelled Bean. The hole was almost 2 feet deep, and the dirt was getting darker and wetter. She flung a big hunk of it over her shoulder.

“Ouch!” Something bounced off of Ivy’s head and landed next to her knee. She picked it up, brushing away the mud that was stuck to it. What was it?

It was about as long as her hand.

It was narrow at one end and flared out at the other.

It was grayish brown.

It was a bone.

“Bean!” Ivy gasped. “Lookit! I got one.”

Bean’s shovel crashed to the ground, and she rushed to Ivy’s side. Ivy handed her the gray brown bone. Bean stared at it and then gave a long whistle. “Watch your tail, Mary Anning!” she said. “Here we come.”

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