Authors: Maureen Bush
Text copyright Â© 2008 Maureen Bush
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Bush, Maureen A. (Maureen Averil), 1960-
Feather Brain/written by Maureen Bush
(Orca young readers)
1. Dinosaurs--Juvenile fiction. I. Title. II. Series.
PS8603.U825F42 2008Â Â Â Â jC813'.6Â Â Â Â C2007-906963-0
First published in the United States, 2008
Library of Congress Control Number:
: Lucas gets more than he bargained for when
he orders a dinosaur-making kit off the Internet.
Orca Book Publishers gratefully acknowledges the support for its publishing programs provided by the following agencies: the Government of Canada through the Book Publishing Industry Development Program and the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Province of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council and the Book Publishing Tax Credit.
Typesetting by Bruce Collins
Cover artwork by Eric Orchard
Author photo by Barb Yates, Helen Scott Studios
, BC C
, WA USA
Printed and bound in Canada.
11 10 09 08 â¢ 4 3 2 1
For Mark, Adriene and Lia.
Thanks for keeping me laughing
I'd like to thank Brian Cooley and Mary Ann Wilson for their wonderful book
Make-a-Saurus: My Life with Raptors and Other Dinosaurs
, the inspiration for
Thanks to Sarah Harvey for pulling my story out of the slush pile, for the fastest-ever acceptance and for such a careful and gentle edit.
And many thanks to everyone at Orca for the wonderful work they do.
“Lucas, mail for you,” Mom called up the stairs.
“One of my packages?”
“All right,” I yelled. I bolted down the stairs and skidded to a halt at the front door.
Our postie stood on the doorstep, snow melting on her shoulders, holding out two damp packages. Both were addressed to me, Lucas Clarke, in Calgary, Alberta. One was in a big flat envelope; the other, perched on top, was about the size of a large milk carton.
“Something special?” she asked.
“Birthday presents,” I said, taking them from her. “I mean, I ordered them with birthday money. They're for making dinosaurs.”
She grinned. “Show me when you're done?”
“Sure,” I said.
She walked down the sidewalk, leaving tracks in the wet snow. It was the second Wednesday in March, two weeks after my tenth birthday, and I'd been dying for these packages to come.
I sat on the stairs and tugged open the envelope. It held a thin book:
Make-a-Saurus: My Life with Raptors and Other Dinosaurs
, by Brian Cooley and Mary Ann Wilson. Dinosaur models leapt off the coverâa wire model, a clay one and a finished dinosaur, complete with feathers and teeth and claws. It looked totally real.
I started turning pages, getting more and more excited. The book showed how Brian Cooley makes dinosaur models. Then it explained how kids could make them too.
“Good book?” Mom asked, sitting beside me on the bottom step.
“Look at this, Mom. It's awesome.” I flipped through the book, describing everything.
She laughed. “You've had it for five minutes and you're already an expert?” She ruffled my hair. We both have red hairâmine short and bright, hers long and dark. “What's in the box?”
I was so excited about the book I'd forgotten about the other packageâthe dinosaur-making kit. Together, they'd be incredible!
I tore open the box and pulled out a handful of scrunched-up paper. Then another and another. Was there anything inside?
Finally I found itâone small glass test tube filled with clear liquid, topped with a cork stopper. It was sealed in a ziplock bag, along with a small piece of paper. I held up the bag. “This is it? This is supposed to be a dinosaur-making kit?!”
Mom bit her lip. “I hate to say I told you so, but...”
I groaned. “I know. You said, âYou never know what you'll get when you order off the Internet.' But the ad looked so good!” I groaned again, dropped the test tube into the box and stuffed all the paper back on top. What a waste of twenty bucks. At least the book was great.
I headed up to my room and flopped onto my bed to read. I didn't stop until I'd finished the book. It was amazing; I couldn't wait to get started. I grabbed a pad of paper and a pencil and started listing all the things I'd need.
The dinosaur on the cover was a sinornithosaurus (pronounced sigh-nor-nih-tho-
-us, according to Brian Cooley). It's one of the feathered dinosaurs from
China. That was what I really wanted to make, but I decided to do something easier for a trial run. I glanced out the window. Fat lazy snowflakes drifted down. Maybe I'd make a fat lazy herbivore.
I turned back to my list. I'd need wire for the frame. We had wire cutters and masking tape, and I had lots of scraps of colored foam sheets I could use for padding. We had newspaper for papier-mÃ¢chÃ©, and I had lots of paint.
I decided to make a stegosaurus and cover it with poppy seeds for the skin texture. I'd need something to use for teethâwhat would work for that? What about the spikes for the tail? And the plates that stick out of his backâwhat could I make those with? Maybe if I wandered through the craft store I'd get some ideas.
I wrote out everything I needed. Then I put down my pad with a grin. I'd talk Mom or Dad into taking me to the mall tomorrow.
I spotted the other package where I'd dropped it on my table. Slowly, I unpacked the test tube again. There wasn't much in it; the test tube was no bigger around than my pinky. The liquid was as clear as water, although it moved more slowly when I shook it. What was I supposed to do with it? I unfolded the piece of paper tucked in the bag:
Make A Dinosaur Come To Life
Mix the solution with your papiermÃ¢chÃ© goop (glue or flour paste) and make a papier-mÃ¢chÃ© dinosaur. There is enough for three small projects or one large. You will be astounded at how lifelike your dinosaur will become for you. But be warned: what you create is yours for life unless it is stolen from you.
And that was it. Weird was right. What a waste of money. I stuffed the paper and the test tube back in the box and tossed the box under my table. Then I dashed downstairs with my list.
Mom took me to the mall after school on Thursday. It was snowing again. Mom shook snow off herself and brushed snow off my hair as we walked into the mall. I'd already found something for dinosaur teeth when I was walking to school that morning. Gravel had been
spread over the roads when they were icy. I kicked the snow away and picked out a dozen small rocks the same shape as my back teeth, but much smaller.
I found a white comb at the dollar store for spikes on the tail, but nothing for the plates along the back of the stegosaurus.
Mom had to buy some birthday cards, so she left me at the craft store with orders to meet her at the card shop when I was done. I wandered all through the store: yarn, embroidery floss, beads in tubes not much bigger than my dinosaur-kit test tube, pipe cleaners. I found wire, but nothing for back plates. I kept wandering. I could cut colored foam sheets into the shape I needed, but they'd be soft. Some scientists think the plates on stegosauruses were soft, for heating and cooling instead of for defense, but that didn't sound very exciting.
What would be hard enough? Cardboard, wood. What about the wooden cutout pieces? I rummaged through the bags: teddy bears, flowers, leaves, hearts. Come on! Why not just plain triangles? Then I took another look at the hearts. If I set them in upside down, there'd be just a point showing. That would work!