Web Site: suziepalmer.com
Editor: John Archer
Artist: Denise Dufferin
The children had a special request when they next visited Ruby. Sarah, Paul, Lillie, and Sam had recently learned about dinosaurs in school and wished to see them for themselves. They wanted to visit the dinosaurs using an extraordinary machine that could travel back in time.
Ruby thought it was a great idea. “Who would like to begin?” she asked. Sam squealed “I will, I will”.
Sammie described a grand machine, purple and silver, glittering with stars, moons, and guiding lights; mirrored windows covered the viewing panel, while rubber tyres were fitted in odd positions for driving in every direction. The bottom looked as if it belonged on the top and the top looked like the bottom. There was a secret entrance not visible to the eye. Sam invited everyone to follow him and moved through the hidden door. The travellers followed, sitting behind Sam. Sam sat in the driver’s seat, wearing a big purple driver’s hat, and a playful smile.
Inside the machine they found all sorts of comforts and delights. Food, fruit, lollies, and exciting toys, all within reach, to amuse the passengers as they travelled through time. Although they would be moving faster than the speed of light, delays could occur when travelling through different eras.
When they were all comfortably seated, eating tasty treats, Sam announced over a speakerphone that it was time to go. “We are zooming into prehistoric times. Be sure to keep your hands inside the windows, and don’t offer the dinosaurs food, or look them in the eye,” he warned.
Lillie moved closer to Ruby, and Ruby squeezed her hand.
The machine shook and rumbled until it lifted out of today’s time and date, whirling and twirling, soaring and dipping. Their stomachs turned upside down, but they did not feel sick. They were too excited about what lay ahead.
The landing was smooth, the machine bounced softy from side to side on the rubber tyres until it finally came to a standstill. A vent dispersed a puff of strawberry smoke that would protect Ruby and the children from predatory monsters. A notice on the wall read ‘Dinosaurs do not like strawberries, they like raw flesh’, so Sammie hit the ‘strawberry’ button repeatedly to ensure the dinosaurs would stay at a safe distance.
Outside was another world. The pink and grey sky covered dark, craggy treeless mountains, unlike any they had ever seen. Vast open spaces stretched as far as they could see. From the distant jungle came high-pitched roars and shrieks! If the crew had been thinking about stepping outside to explore, those loud cries would have stopped them. Instead, Sam put his foot on the pedal and sped away.
The machine bounced and bounded across the earth, clearing large gorges and chasms with ease. Gliding and sailing was such fun, they almost forgot where they were. A reminder soon came when loud bellowing and a series of earth tremors brought the machine to a sudden halt.
Fortunately, they could see every angle of the prehistoric land from the safety of their time machine. In the distance a dinosaur gathering was taking place. Dinosaurs are scary enough on their own; in great numbers dinosaurs are even more terrifying.
Bravely, Sam drove towards a bushy hilltop. Pressing the Moonbeam button, he propelled them forward without the large scary creatures noticing.
From this high, sheltered perch the crew watched the action. The dinosaurs were stomping and roaring in a tribal dance. Some were brightly coloured and glistened as they moved under the pink sun. Out the sky, as if from nowhere, a giant winged dinosaur flew in. The dinosaurs seemed to nod hello and then sat on their backsides. The winged one moved among the gathering. He brought news of happenings from afar.
Ruby and the children suddenly realised the giant also brought news from nearby, because he pointed out their hidden whereabouts. The dinosaurs turned and began marching toward the bushy hilltop, shaking the earth as they went. The travellers were stunned. The giant must have spotted them from the sky!
Lillie and Sam screamed. Sarah and Paul did the same. Ruby moved to the driver’s seat and tried to activate the machine, but it would not budge. All too soon, the dinosaurs climbed the hill and were peering through the windows.
“Don’t look them in the eyes; don’t look them in the eyes!” Sam cried.
Ruby could not resist. She drew a deep breath, mustered all her courage, and gazed into the dinosaurs’ eyes with love and friendship. Ruby treated all creatures equally. She was not going to behave differently now. Even if the dinosaurs looked frightening, and were from another time, another land.
The children relaxed when the dinosaurs changed their attitude. With toothy smiles, the dinosaurs looked at them, spoke among themselves, and lifted the flying machine and carried it into their den nearby. It was lucky they were plant eaters and not people eaters.
Ruby picked up some fruit to offer to the dinosaurs. Sammie protested because the sign said not to feed them. Ruby tried to calm him and the frightened children by reassuring them that after they had said hello to the dinosaurs, they could return home.
The dinosaurs carefully placed the machine on the den floor and waited for the passengers to come out. The heat and the stench nearly overwhelmed Ruby and the crew as they stepped onto the sandy soft floor. Not wishing to upset their newfound friends, the children smiled. It seemed the dinosaurs were just as interested in them, sniffing their bodies, smelling the human scent!
Then came the invitation to join in a dinosaur dance. Nervously, Sarah, Paul, Lillie, and Sam mounted the dinosaur’s backs, climbing up their long necks. Ruby’s dinosaur seemed to know she needed help, so he twisted his neck in such a way that she landed safely on his back. Ruby could have flown, but she appreciated the dinosaur’s care.
They moved out of the smelly, warm dinosaur’s den, shuffling, and bouncing on the dinosaur’s backs. The time machine remained inside with the strawberry button pressed and strawberry smoke flowing into the cave, making it smell good. People-eating dinosaurs would be kept away while they were gone. Paul and Sam organised this before leaving the machine to meet the dinosaurs.
Around them, oddly shaped trees and plants played prehistoric music. Rustling leaves sounded like flutes. Guitar and violin tones came from shifting bark, and tree trunks pounded bongo beats. Birds sang tunes from another world, while the dinosaurs danced, their footfalls creating drumming rhythms.
Ruby and the children were at a party, a party that had been in progress long before they had arrived in their time machine. The dinosaurs twisted their longs necks and spoke face-to-face their guests, who understood dinosaur language. The travellers learned that gatherings took place every full moon to bring dinosaurs together to celebrate their community.
Sarah’s dinosaur said “We find our strength in numbers. Not against predators, but against time”.
Paul’s dinosaur added: “The winged dinosaur keeps us informed of earth changes. He tells us that one day the world will be covered in ice, and our skeletons will be found, assembled, and viewed by people like you in the future”.
Lillie and Sam told them about their school outing to the museum. The dinosaurs listened attentively. “Dinosaurs like you stand in galleries but not with skin, only bones”. Although this confirmed the giant winged dinosaur’s prediction, they were happy future generations would appreciate them.
The excitement of meeting dinosaurs in real life and riding on their large backs was unforgettable. Ruby and the children had no idea dinosaurs could be such fun. They even knew when it was time to let their human friends go, and gently carried them back to their machine.
The den was full of smoke when they returned. The dinosaurs laughed. There had been no need for protection. In prehistoric times, having dinosaurs as friends is the greatest protection anyone could ask for.
After bidding farewell to their friends, the travellers returned to their machine. It had been a great adventure. On the way home, Ruby suggested they meditate and reflect on the events of the day. When they opened their eyes they found they were back in the present, sitting on Ruby’s cushions. Who would have imagined dinosaurs could dance? Who would believe they were so friendly?
And, clever too? …
Copyright © 2007 Suzie Palmer
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|Reviewed by Muhammad Al Mahdi
|Cute :) This could be one of the dreams from Sabatier's "Enfants de'l ete".|
|Reviewed by Sage Sweetwater
|Another story in the Come Fly With Me series! After all of these months, it surely looks like you are in the compilation stage of having this series published, Suzie...I note the editor's name and the artists names...Dance of the dinosaurs, especially, has cross-over potential into other forms of digital media - audio, video, game, interactive media, and spin-off products...this is highly marketable. You've written this, as you do with this series, through a child's vivid imagination. This is what it takes to market children's literature effectively - you have to put yourself in the mind of a child and hold a child's attention span - a colorful story, Suzie...good luck to you in this series...I am glad to see you post yet another story in this series...it is a very educational series so far...Blessed Be.