Ivy and Bean Break the Fossil Record (6 page)

“Eric’s not at school today,” said Vanessa. “I wonder if he ate five hundred M&M’s.”

“He didn’t,” said Dusit. “He ate a hundred and twelve, and then he threw up.”

“But a hundred and twelve is hardly anything.”

“He didn’t chew,” said Dusit. “He just poured them down his throat.”

“Yuck,” said Emma. “That’s gross.”

“His mom is really mad,” said Dusit glumly. “She took the rest of his money away.”

“What about you, Bean?” asked Vanessa. “Did you get all those straws in your mouth?”

“Straws?” Bean had almost forgotten the straws. “Oh. No. But Ivy and I broke another record—”

“How many did you get in?” asked Zuzu.

“What? Oh. Forty-four. But guys,” said Bean, “Ivy and I broke another record yesterday afternoon.” She stopped and waited.

“Well?” said Vanessa. “What record?”

“We became the youngest paleontologists in the world!”

There was a little pause.

“What’s a paleontologist?” asked Drew.

“A person who digs up dinosaur bones,” said Bean. “And that’s what we did! We dug seventeen dinosaur bones out of my backyard yesterday. And today we’re going to get more. And then we’re going to put them together and make a dinosaur skeleton!”

Nobody said anything.

“Isn’t that cool?” said Bean. What was the matter with them?

“You did not,” said Dusit, finally.

“We did too!” cried Bean.

“Seventeen dinosaur bones? No way,” said Emma.

“Yes way,” said Bean firmly.

Zuzu and Emma gave each other a look. Bean felt her face get hot.

“People don’t just find dinosaur bones,” said Vanessa in a grown-up voice. “Dinosaur bones aren’t just lying around.”

“Sometimes they are,” said Ivy. “That’s how Mary Anning found them.”

“Until yesterday, Mary Anning was the youngest paleontologist in the world,” said Bean, trying again. “Now Ivy and I are.”

“You can’t just
say
you broke a record and get in the book,” said Vanessa. “You have to
prove
it.”

“We can prove it,” said Ivy. Her face was getting a little pink, too. “We have the bones!”

“How do we know that they’re not chicken bones you stuck in the ground yourself?” Vanessa said.

“They’re not chicken bones. They’re big. You can come over and see them if you don’t believe us,” said Bean.

“Okay,” said Vanessa. “I will.”

“In fact, you can all come over,” said Bean. “I invite you all over for a dinosaur-bone viewing. So there.”

“Fine. When?” said Emma.

“You can come this afternoon.” Bean decided. “But don’t come early, because Ivy and I have paleontology to do.”

“You’d better come and see them today,” said Ivy. “When they’re in the museum, you’ll have to pay! Come on, Bean.” They turned their backs on the play structure and walked toward the classroom.

A BONE TO PICK

Bean could hardly wait for the end of the day. Finally, Ms. Aruba-Tate said, “Put up your chairs, boys and girls,” just like she always did. Bean and Ivy put up their chairs—
wham, wham
—and hurried out of the classroom.

“Wait, you guys!” Leo ran down the breezeway and stood in front of them. They waited.

“Did you really?” he said.

“What?” said Ivy in a huffy voice.

“Find dinosaur bones?” He looked at them with narrow eyes.

Bean’s face got hot again. Leo was their friend, and friends believed you. He shouldn’t think they were lying. It made her mad. “Yes! We did!” she yelled. “And we have proof! Anyone who doesn’t believe us can come over and see! Four o’clock! Today! My house! Dinosaurs!” She glared at Leo. “Bring everyone you know! Bring your stupid soccer team! I don’t care!”

“Jeez,” said Leo. “Lighten up.”

“Excuse me,” said Ivy, still in a huffy voice. “We have work to do.” She pulled Bean by the arm.

A skinny first-grader plucked at her jacket when she reached the stairs. “I heard you found dinosaur bones,” he said.

“Yes, we did,” said Bean in a loud voice. “We found dinosaur bones.”

He looked at her nervously. “Can I see them?”

“Oh.” Bean had been ready for a fight. She tried to make her face into a smile as she told the kid where she lived. “Come by later this afternoon,” she said.

“Okay,” he smiled. “Can I bring my mom?”

“Bring anyone you want.”

As they walked home, Ivy said, “Nobody believed Mary Anning, either. They thought that the bones were just weird rocks. They told her to stop wasting her time. But in the end, she was right. Who cares what other people think?”

Bean stepped over a crack in the sidewalk. “I do. I want other people to know I’m right. Especially when I really
am
right.”

Ivy thought for a moment. “But you’re still right, even if they don’t think so.”

“I guess.” Bean sighed. “I just feel better if other people think I’m right, too.”

“Hardly anybody ever thinks I’m right,” said Ivy.

Bean nodded. That was true. A lot of people didn’t understand Ivy’s ideas. She had had plenty of practice at not being believed. That’s probably why she didn’t get as mad about it as Bean did. She just went ahead with her ideas anyway. You can do whatever you want if you don’t care what people think, Bean realized. But you have to do it alone a lot of the time.

They climbed the stairs to Bean’s front porch. “We need a good snack,” said Bean. “We have lots of digging to do.”

“A great big snack,” agreed Ivy. “What do you have?”

“Trail mix,” said Bean. “The kind with chocolate chips.”

“Cool. We can eat it while we dig.”

“We should be kind of quiet,” Bean added. “I think my dad is still a little grumpy from yesterday.”

But he wasn’t. He was standing in the front hall with a big smile on his face. “Hi, girls!” he called out. “How was school? Learn anything good? What’s two plus two? Eight?”

Bean giggled. Sometimes her dad was a goofball. “Four,” she said.

“Wrong again!” He slapped his head. “You want a snack? I made banana bread.”

“You did? How come?” Bean said.

“Because I make great banana bread. Duh,” he said, bustling toward the kitchen.

He was awfully cheerful. Bean put her
hands on her hips. “What’s going on around here, Dad? Why are you so happy?”

Dad stopped bustling toward the kitchen. “I’m glad to see you,” he said.

Bean looked at him.

“I
am.
” Then he said, “It was quiet around here today.”

“Mom says it’s peaceful when we’re gone,” said Bean.

“I don’t like peaceful. I was lonely,” her dad admitted.

Bean laughed. “Hey. You’re just like me.”

Her dad had been so lonely that he had made three loaves of banana bread. He cut two thick slices and poured two glasses of milk and brought them to the kitchen table. Then he sat down to watch Bean and Ivy eat.

“What are you guys up to this afternoon?” he asked.

The girls exchanged glances. “It’s a secret,” said Bean slowly. If she told him, he might want to help, and that would ruin the youngest paleontologist record. He was old. “But by the end of the afternoon, you’ll know.”

“The end of the afternoon?” He looked disappointed. “Oh.”

Ivy felt sorry for him. “Thanks for the banana bread,” she said. “It was delicious.”

“You’re welcome.” He picked up the newspaper.

“See you later,” said Bean, getting up. She stopped and turned back to the table. “There might be some kids coming over later,” she said. “Just in the yard.”

He was reading. “Kids. Great,” he said.

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