"Digging To China" (Aileen Holmes )
On a warm, sunny day with bees buzzing around the azalea bushes, Abby and her cousin Noah played in the big backyard at Noah's house. Noah's mother had a new baby and Abby and her parents were visiting.
"How do you like my yard?" Noah asked proudly.
"It's really big," Abby said.
Noah's family had just moved to a much larger home in a new development that was bordered by woods. There were so many trees. Abby had even seen deer and wild turkey.
"Let's do some digging," Noah said.
"I don't want to get dirty," Abby said, "these are my new clothes." Abby's favorite color was pink and she was wearing her new pink dress and matching tights.
"I bet we could dig clear to China."
"Traveler is already over in that corner where there's a big mound of earth. He thinks there's something interesting in it."
As if to prove Noah's point, the golden retriever started pawing at the rough ground. Something was getting Traveler all excited.
"It could be a dead animal," Noah said.
Abby wrinkled her nose. "Maybe we should go back inside the house. I'd like to see some of your new toys."
"Come on, don't you want to know what Traveler's trying to find? Aren't you curious? I'll get the shovels."
Soon they were digging. They dug deeper and deeper into the raised ground until Abby was hot, tired and ready to stop.
"I think we should go into the house and have some juice."
Noah frowned. "Where's your spirit of adventure?" he said.
Abby shrugged. She didn't want to disappoint her cousin. He was more than a year older than her and she looked up to him. But she really didn't want to get all dirty.
Abby decided that she was going to tell Noah she wouldn't dig anymore. She'd go see the new baby, Zach, instead, even if he couldn't do much that was interesting yet.
But suddenly, Traveler began barking, more excited than before.
"Come on, Abbs. Help me! There's something here for sure."
Abby sighed and started digging again. They dug deeper into the earth pulling out some gross-looking worms. Yuck! At this rate, they really would be digging to China. She was convinced Noah wouldn't be happy until they did.
And then it happened! Noah found a bone. Not an ordinary bone, but one so big, neither one of them was able to lift it!
"What do you think it is?" Abby said, staring in amazement.
"Only one thing it could be," Noah said, "a dinosaur bone."
"What's a dinosaur?"
"You don't know about dinosaurs?"
Abby shook her head.
"My dad took me to see them in the museum. They were huge and some of them had big, sharp teeth."
Abby looked around. She was feeling scared. "Are there any around here now? Would they try to eat us?"
"No, they were cold-blooded reptiles who lived a very long time ago. There's nothing left of the dinosaurs now but their bones."
"Let's show this to my dad and yours," Abby said. "They'll know if it really is a dinosaur bone."
Soon, Abby's Dad, who was very tall, followed Noah's Dad, who wore black framed glasses, out to the backyard.
"What do you think?" Noah asked. "Is it a dinosaur bone?"
"Could be," Noah's Dad said. "What do you think, Dan?"
Abby's father looked at the bone carefully. "Dinosaur bones have been found in this area before. I think you may have discovered something important." Her dad gave Abby a big hug. "You and Noah have become scientists."
"What's a scientist?" Abby asked.
"Someone who is curious and studies nature to find out things," Abby's Dad said.
"We're very proud of both of you," Noah's dad said.
Noah smiled. And Abby felt very good indeed.
"We were going to dig to China," Noah confided.
"Thirsty work," Abby's dad said. "Let's go into the house and celebrate your find with some cold lemonade."
Abby took her father's hand and smiled. Someday maybe she truly would become a scientist. Maybe Noah would too.
Special thanks to Aileen Holmes for her illustration. To see more of her work, visit aileenholmes.com.
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