Authors: Annie Barrows
They dug for half an hour without finding any more bones. Bean was on the edge of giving up. She figured that one bone was a lot more than most people found. But then she thought of Mary Anning chip, chip, chipping for a year. She didn’t want to be wimpier than Mary Anning. Or Ivy. So she dug and dug.
Ivy’s nose was running, and she had mud all over her. Also, her feet had gone to sleep from being kneeled on. But she didn’t give up either. She combed through each new load of dirt with her fingers, feeling for bones. She found a lot of rocks. She found a marble. She found a piece of blue plastic.
Then her fingers, burrowing into the mud like worms, plucked out another bone. This one was shorter and thicker, but it was definitely a bone. “I got another one!” she called. Bean dropped down beside her and looked at the gray brown lump.
“We rock,” she said.
“No. We fossil,” giggled Ivy. She dusted the bone carefully and put it next to the first one. “We can put them together later,” she said.
“How do you put them together if you don’t know which dinosaur it is?” asked Bean.
“It’s like a puzzle, I think. You look for pieces that fit together,” said Ivy. “We can look in dinosaur books, too, so it’s a lot easier for us than for Mary Anning. She didn’t have any pictures to look at. But,” she remembered, “Mary Anning found the whole ichthyosaur, so she didn’t need to put it together.”
“It’s sort of cheating to find the whole thing,” said Bean. “Oh man! Here’s a big one!” She fished around in the dirt and pulled out a thick, heavy bone. It was a very serious-looking bone. Bean held it up. It reached from her hand to her elbow. She whistled. “This is no little, cute dinosaur. This is a big, scary dinosaur.”
“What if that’s just its little finger?” said Ivy dreamily.
“Monsterosaur!” said Bean.
“IvyBeanosaur!” said Ivy. “You’re supposed to name them after the person who discovered them.”
Bean giggled. Then her shovel hit something hard. Another bone appeared, this one smooth and rounded. “Whoa, Nellie!”
cried Bean. “I think I got a piece of its skull!”
A few minutes later, Bean found another small bone. Ivy found two more—one big, the other medium. There was no doubt about it: The backyard had been swarming with dinosaurs.
“You know,” Ivy said, holding up her ninth bone. (They didn’t even call out when they found them now.) “Mary Anning was
when she found her ichthyosaur. We’re only seven. We’re probably the youngest paleontologists in the world.”
Bean stopped digging and leaned on her shovel. The youngest paleontologists in the world? “Ivy, you know what that means?”
“It means we’re record breakers!”
Ivy stopped rubbing dirt. She and Bean grinned at each other. “Youngest paleontologists in the world,” said Ivy. “That’s way better than spoons.”
By the time Ivy had to go home, the girls had found 17 bones. They were all different sizes, but they were clearly from the same dinosaur because they were all the same shade of grayish brown.
Bean’s father called her in for dinner. Bean washed off most of the dirt and sat down at the dining room table. She smiled, thinking about the dinosaur skeleton she and Ivy were going to build. They were totally awesome. They would probably be on TV. Her parents would have to let her watch TV if she was
it. Bean noticed that Nancy was sneering at her. She was still mad about the octopus.
“If I ever catch you
at one of my glass animals again, you’ll be sorry,” Nancy hissed while their father served up their pasta.
“What am I supposed to do—put a blindfold on when I go into your room?”
“You’re not supposed to go into my room,” said Nancy. “Because it’s
room. Daddy, can I get a lock on my door?”
“No,” said Dad, bringing in their bowls.
Bean stared at her pasta. It looked funny, but she decided not to say so.
“This pasta looks weird,” said Nancy.
“That’s what I thought, but I didn’t say it,” said Bean. “Mom says if you can’t say something nice about your food, you shouldn’t say anything at all.”
Nancy lifted one eyebrow and said, “Little children who break dishes, steal other people’s stuff, and screech their brains out have no right to talk about what other people do.”
“How about if we don’t talk at all for a little while?” suggested Dad.
“Fine with me,” said Nancy.
“Me, too,” said Bean. So she didn’t tell them anything about the amazing dinosaur find in
the backyard. Serves them right, she thought. I’ll be the youngest paleontologist in the world, and they won’t even know it.
BELIEVE IT OR NOT
“Breaking a world record is harder than it looks,” said Emma the next day at recess. The second-graders who had gathered around
The Amazing Book of World Records
the day before were huddled under the play structure again. Without the book. “I could get two spoons stuck on my cheeks, no problem,” Emma went on, “and for a second, I got three. But that’s all. I wish the book said how that kid did it.”
“Did you try your nose?” asked Drew.
“Sure I tried my nose,” Emma said. “It slid right off.”
“Maybe he has a very sticky face,” said Ivy. “Maybe he even puts something on his face to make it sticky.”
“Maybe,” said Emma, “but forget it. I’m tired of trying to put spoons on my face.”
There was a silence. Bean didn’t want to be a braggy kid. Everyone hates braggy kids. She would wait to tell about the dinosaur bones until someone else told about breaking a record. “How’d the cartwheels go?” she asked Zuzu.
“Super-great,” said Zuzu.
“You did it?” asked Ivy. “A hundred and eleven cartwheels?”
Everyone looked impressed. “Wow!” “That’s great!” “Are you going to be in the book?”
Zuzu pulled the zipper on her jacket down and up. “I didn’t do a hundred and eleven cartwheels. I did thirty-two.” She looked around at the faces watching her. “That’s
I set the record for Emerson School, for sure.”
There was a short silence while everyone thought about that. Then Bean said, “Did you fall down or what?”
“I crashed into the fence,” said Zuzu. “Got a bunch of splinters.” She held up her knee. It looked like she had pepper under her skin.
“Ouch,” said Ivy. She hated splinters.
“If my backyard was a mile long, I bet I could have done it,” said Zuzu.