Authors: Annie Barrows
People streamed in. Bean couldn’t believe how many there were. Vanessa, Drew, Dusit, Emma, Zuzu, Sophie W. and Sophie S., Marco, Anya, Nascim, Jared, Leo with five guys she didn’t know, Leo’s sister Kiki, Isaiah, two fourth-grade girls who Bean didn’t know the names of, Leann from down the street, the skinny little first-grader along with about
six other skinny little first-graders, some tiny brothers and sisters, and assorted moms.
“Hi,” said Bean in a small voice. What was she going to say to all these people?
“What happens next?” Bean’s dad whispered in her ear.
“I don’t know,” said Bean nervously. The tiny kids started playing in Bean’s playhouse, and the moms stood around the edges of the yard looking like they were late for something else, but the big kids crowded around Ivy and Bean. They didn’t look really friendly.
“So—let’s see the dinosaur bones,” said Vanessa.
“Yeah!” squeaked the skinny first-grader.
Then Bean heard Ivy take a deep breath. “Attention, please!” Ivy called. She climbed up onto the trampoline and stood there, looking down at everyone. “I have an announcement!”
“What?” said Leo.
Not even Mary Anning was as brave as Ivy, Bean thought. She felt suddenly lighter.
The crowd grew quiet, watching Ivy. She cleared her throat. “This afternoon, we had a visit from an expert, and he told us that these,” Ivy pointed to the bones, “are not, I repeat NOT, dinosaur bones.” She looked at the crowd below her. “The expert was unable to identify these bones. He says these are the most mysterious bones he has ever seen. Because of that, he has decided to name them The Bones of Mystery.”
Wow. Bones of Mystery. That’s exactly what they were! Bean climbed onto the trampoline and stood beside Ivy. “These are the bones of a creature never before seen,” she said in a loud voice. “Possibly a man-eating, saber-toothed, deadly-clawed creature.”
“We will let you know what the creature is as soon as studies have been done,” said Ivy. “We regret any inconvenience.”
There was a silence. Ivy and Bean looked down at the kids standing around the trampoline. They looked back. Finally, the skinny first-grader said, “Can I touch The Bones of Mystery?”
“You may,” said Bean, feeling like a queen. Kids quickly clustered around the bones, inspecting them and fingering their dirty dryness.
Then Bean’s dad spoke up. “I have an announcement, too,” he said. “Banana bread will be served in just a moment. Guests are invited to jump on the trampoline in the meantime.”
“Cool!” said Dusit, dropping his bone. “Lemme up there!”
“Me, too!” yelled Emma. “I bet I can do a flip.”
“So can I,” said Zuzu.
There was a rush for the trampoline. Ivy and Bean climbed down to let the others up. Vanessa stood nearby. “I told you they weren’t dinosaur bones,” she said.
Bean sucked in her breath. She knew what she had to say. “You were right, and we were wrong,” she said. “Probably.”
“I think it’s pretty exciting to find a creature that’s never before been seen,” said Ivy. “Especially a saber-toothed one.”
“Have some banana bread,” said Bean’s dad, coming up to them with a plate piled high.
“Thanks,” said Vanessa. She took two pieces.
Leo was poking the bones with his foot. “Bones of Mystery,” he said. “You guys are wacko.”
Ivy and Bean looked at each other. “That’s what they said about Mary Anning.”
ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER RECORD
The banana bread ran out quickly, but nobody left. Kids were digging and jumping and running around. The first-graders were spraying the hose into Bean’s hole. The moms were standing in a circle, chatting.
Bean found her dad sitting on the stairs. “Will you go get your camera?” she asked. “Please?”
He put his arm around her. “Why?”
“I think I’m breaking a record,” Bean said.
“Oh yeah? What record?”
“Biggest playdate ever. Come on, go get the camera. You have to have proof.” Bean gave him a shove.
“Okay, okay.” He got up and went inside.
Ivy climbed the stairs and sat next to her. “I’m still bummed that they aren’t dinosaur bones,” she said.
“Yeah,” Bean said. She was still bummed, too. She had really wanted to be the youngest paleontologist in the world. She looked out over the backyard full of kids. Maybe it wasn’t going to be the biggest playdate in the world, either. She should probably have a backup.
“I think I should try to break glass by screaming again. A wine glass. Not an animal.”
Ivy nodded. “A wine glass would be easier.”
“I’m going to do it. Tomorrow.”
Bean’s dad came back out on the porch
with the camera. “What are you going to do tomorrow?” he asked.
Bean and Ivy smiled at each other. “Never mind,” said Bean.
SNEAK PREVIEW OF IVY & BEAN TAKE CARE OF THE BABYSITTER
BOOK 4 (COMING SOON!)
Bean was grinding corn. She put a few pieces of Indian corn on the sidewalk and then smacked a rock down on top of them. Thwack! It hardly dented them, but that was okay. That was part of the fun. You had to pound for a long time. Thwack!
“What are you doing?” It was Nancy, standing on the porch.
“Grinding corn.” Thwack! Bean looked at her corn. It was dented now. “You can do some, too, if you want. I’ve got lots of corn.”
Nancy watched her pound. “What’s it for?”
“Food,” said Bean. “I’m making corn-bread.” Thwack! “Hey, look! Corn-dust!”
Nancy almost came to look. She even took a step down the stairs. But then she got a prissy look on her face and said, “Like Mom’s going to let you eat stuff that’s been on the sidewalk. Dream on.”
Bean could have thrown the rock at her, but she knew better than that. Bean was seven. Nancy was eleven. Bean knew how to drive Nancy crazy without getting into trouble herself. She began to yell, “Winter’s coming! If we don’t grind corn, we’ll have to eat rocks!”
“Cut it out, Bean!” hissed Nancy. “Everyone will see you!”
Nancy was always worried that everyone would see her.
Bean wanted everyone to see her. She lay down on the sidewalk and rolled from side to
side, moaning, “Just a little corn-dust, that’s all I ask!”
The front door slammed. Nancy had gone inside. It was so easy to make Nancy crazy.
Bean lay on the sidewalk, resting. The sun was warm. She loved Saturdays.
“We’ve got dirt at my house,” said a voice beside her.
It was Sophie W. from down the street.
“What kind of dirt?” asked Bean.
Sophie smiled. Both her front teeth were out, and she had filled the hole with gum. “A lot of dirt.”
That sounded interesting. Bean jumped up and grabbed her bag of corn. Together, she and Sophie hurried around Pancake Court.
Usually, Sophie W.’s house looked a lot like all the other houses on Pancake Court, but today, it looked different. Today, there was an enormous mound of dirt in the front yard.
mound. It was as high as the front porch. Maybe even higher. It spread across half the lawn, all the way to the path. The dirt was dark brown, the kind of dirt that smells good and is already halfway to mud.
“Wow. Your parents gave you dirt?” asked Bean.