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What Do You Do With a Dinosaur?

There was a loud crackling noise. "Watch out, Dad!" Mark Burns yelled to his father. Their camp was next to a glacier. Now part of the glacier was breaking apart in the summer sun. Chunks of ice were tumbling down, heading right for them.

Professor Burns and his son scrambled up a nearby hill and watched while their camp was buried under the falling ice.

Soon it was all over. Mark and his father started digging out their campsite. "Hey Dad!" Mark yelled suddenly. "Look at this giant egg." An egg, much larger than a football, was frozen solid in a chunk of ice.

"This looks like a dinosaur egg," said Professor Burns. "It must be millions of years old." They packed the egg carefully in an insulated bag.

A few days later they flew home from their camping trip up North. In his basement laboratory, Professor Burns rapidly thawed out the egg. He placed it in a special box at just the right temperature.

For weeks nothing happened. Then one day Mark heard a funny noise coming from inside the egg. Suddenly there was a tiny hole in the egg shell. The hole got larger and larger. Finally the whole egg cracked open. A baby dinosaur wriggled out.

Mark raced up the stairs and called his father.

"That looks like a Brontosaurus," said Professor Burns. "This is the first time humans have ever seen a live dinosaur. We must be careful. No one must find out about him. If they did, they would take him away to a museum. I want to study him myself."

They named the baby dinosaur Bronty and made a comfortable bed for him in a laundry basket. They fed him plenty of leafy vegetables. Sometimes, when there was no one around, they let him out to eat some grass in the yard.

One day, Miss Pritchett, who lived across the street, was visiting. When she opened the bathroom door, she screamed. Bronty was swimming in the bathtub. Miss Pritchett raced out the door.

By that night, the neighbors were buzzing about the "monster" in the Burns house. The next day, when Mark got home from school, he found a five dollar bill and a note on the kitchen table. "Dear Mark, I'll be home later. Please pick up a loaf of bread and a dozen eggs in the supermarket. Love, Mom."

Mark felt sorry for Bronty. He would be all alone in the house. And he never got to go anywhere. So he put a dog collar and leash on the dinosaur and led him to the supermarket. People stared at the two of them as they walked down the street.

At the supermarket, Bronty barely fit into the cart. His tail hung over the side. He stretched his long neck and looked around.

There was a big display of cans piled up in the middle of the store. Before Mark could stop him, Bronty swished his tail and knocked them down. Then he stuck out his neck and started to chomp on the heads of lettuce across the aisle.

The manager rushed over. "Didn't you see that sign, 'No pets allowed'?'' he shouted.

Mark hurried out without the bread and eggs. When he got home, there was a crowd of neighbors outside his house.

"We don't want that Thing in the neighborhood," someone shouted. "It might eat the children!"

Just then Professor Burns came home, and after some more angry words, the neighbors left. "You'd better have that thing out of here by tomorrow night! Or else we'll call the police."

By the time they went to bed, Professor Burns had decided to give Bronty up. He would take him away the next morning.

Mark did not want to lose Bronty. He could not sleep at all that night. Early the next morning, before anyone was up, Mark sneaked out of the house. He took Bronty with him. They hid in the thick bushes next to the lake.

A few hours later, they heard some shouts coming from the middle of the lake. Mark peeked out through the bushes. Two boys in a rowboat were fooling around. They were pushing and shoving each other. Suddenly the boat tipped and quickly filled with water. Then the boat sank.

"Help! Help! I can't swim!" the boys screamed. People on the shore were just standing and watching.

Mark pushed Bronty into the water and jumped on his back. He pointed to the drowning boys. Bronty was a good swimmer. In no time he was there. The two boys grabbed Bronty's tail, and he towed them back to shore.

Now Bronty was a hero. All the neighbors were proud to have him living there.






©1972, 2013 The Silversteins