Friday, February 5, 2010


A story that I wrote long ago for my too-faraway grandchildren.

Great-grandpa Mike

Albert, the Ankylosaurus (ank-ki-lo-sawr-us)
lives with his mother and father in a huge forest at the edge of a swampy lake. Every morning, soon after the sun is up, Albert awakens, crawls out of his nest, and shakes himself to get the sleepy out of his eyes.

When Albert awakens in the morning and finishes his stretching he usually waddles down to the lake to munch the sweet grasses that grow along the shore. Albert has reached the age when he doesn't need to be watched over any more by an older Ankylosaurus

This morning, when Albert awakens, looks around to see if his friends, Pete, the Pentaceratops, (pen-ta-ser-a-tops), Palmer, the Parasaurolophus, (par-a-saw-rol-o-fus), and Apatosaurus (a-pat-o-sawr-us). Sally, the Stegosaurus (steg-o-seras) is also awake and still stretching. Albert and the others visit and chat until Sally is free to join them. Meanwhile, Pete and Palmer chase each other around the trees of the forest. Sally soon joins the others and, together they race each other to the lake for breakfast.

At the lake, the friends nibble the tall and tasty grasses that grow along the shore or in the shallow water. Now and then, the leaves of a bush or a tree look appetizing and they soon become part of the morning meal.

Finished, Albert waves good-bye to his friends and heads off deeper into the forest. Albert likes to explore. He is also looking for an Ankylosaurus like himself to have as another friend.

It’s a cool and pleasant morning. Albert comes to a meadow, crosses to the trees on the other side and continues on. Finally, he arrives at another lake that is almost as long and as wide as the lake where he and his friends have their breakfasts.

The lake’s shore is quiet and Albert looks about for a snack. He waddles into the water, stretches his short neck, and lowers his head to the water. He yanks up a mouthful of grasses and water plants and chews.

Albert hears a splash behind him. Turning his head he sees another, smaller Ankylosaurus. Albert quickly finishes chewing, swallows, and smiles.

‘I’m Albert,’ he says.’ What’s your name?’

‘Alexandra,’ replies the smaller Ankylosaurus (ank-ki-lo-sawr-us). ‘Where are you from, Albert?’

‘I live near the lake on the other side of the forest.’ Albert points his tail in the direction of home.’ I was exploring and came here to see if any neighbors moved in recently. I haven’ seen you before. Are you new here?’

‘Yes, I am,’ Alexandra replies. ‘My Mommy and Daddy and I just moved here and we think we’ll stay. It’s quiet in this forest, and the lake’s shoreline has plenty of the food that we like. I hope that we’ll remain here for a long time.’

Albert tells Alexandra about Peter, Palmer, Alice and Sally. ‘Oh, I want very much to meet them.’ Alexandra is excited at the thought of making new friends.

‘I’m sure they would want to meet you too.’ Albert wiggles his tail as he speaks. ‘Do Ankylosaurus children play coconut ball where you came from?’

‘Sure do,’ Alexandra says.

Albert bumps up against a large palm tree and soon a coconut drops to the ground. Albert grips the coconut with his teeth and flips the coconut over his shoulder. As the coconut falls he bats it toward Alexandra with his tail.

Alexandra, who has studied ballet, is well balanced. She catches the ball easily in her mouth. Tossing it high with a graceful twist of her body she bats it with her tail in a high arc back to Albert. He dashes toward the coconut and, with a tail flip, returns it for another round.

Albert and Alexandra play with the coconut ball for a while. They stop for lunch along the shore, and then rest and chat.

When the day moves into afternoon, Albert says good-bye to Alexandra and promises to return soon. They are friends.

‘My birthday is coming soon,' Alexandra says as Albert turns to leave. 'My mother and father are giving me a party. Will you come to my party and will you bring along Pete, Palmer, Alice and Sally?’

‘Of course I’ll come,’ Albert says as he waves at her over his shoulder, ‘and I’ll tell my friends about you. I’m sure they’ll want to come to your party.’

Albert heads for his home near the lake on the other side of the forest.

Alexandra rushes home. She tells her parents about Albert, and they are pleased that Alexandra has found a friend near their new home.

Alexandra has her supper and plays with her toys. Then, tired and sleepy after her coconut-batting game with her new friend, she climbs into the nest her father had just lined with fresh twigs and leaves, and is soon sound asleep.


When Albert arrives home he tells his friends about Alexandra. Albert's mother and father tell their neighbors that another family has moved into their neighborhood, and that their daughter, Alexandra, would soon be having a birthday party. Albert's friends tell their parents that they would like to meet Alexandra and to join in the party and the games. Of course, everyone accepts the open invitation from Alexandra’s family.


On the day of the party Albert, Pete, Palmer, Sally and Alice race each other to Alexandra’s home on the far side of the forest.

Colored streamers, bunting, balloons and ‘Happy Birthday’ signs stretch across spaces between trees. Cookies and candies for Alexandra’s friends are in dishes on tables and gifts are stacked everywhere.

Children play games among the trees, sing songs, and swing on tree branches long enough to be reached easily by the children. Near the tables, other children laugh and eat cookies, candies and ice cream, and drink milk.

Albert invites Alexandra to meet his friends. Alexandra’s father snaps many pictures with his camera. The camera is the kind that makes instant pictures, so Alexandrs passes lots of pictures to her guests.

‘These are very interesting pictures,’ she says. ‘Please take some more share them with your parents.’


After a little while everyone moves toward the table. Alexandra’s father carries out a huge, three-layered chocolate cake with whipped cream all over the top and sides. The cake has four candles. It is Alexandra’s fourth birthday.

When the cake is on the table Alexandra takes a deep breath, and with a single whoosh blows out all four candles.

Everyone shouts ‘Happy Birthday, Alexandra!’ and they waddle-dance around the table. Alexandra is very happy. Her daddy plays on his ukulele.

It’s time for Alexandra to open the many gifts that her friends and parents put on the table.

Alexandra unwraps a special Ankylosaurus (ank-ki-lo-sawr-us)
doll that goes ‘beep’ when she squeezes it, a dinosaur doll’s nest lined with tiny leaves and twigs, and a blackboard on a tripod with different colored chalk sticks. There are many other gifts, too. Alexandra holds her gifts up so that everyone can see them. Then, with a big smile, she hugs her mother and father and thanks her guests for their gifts and for coming to her party.

All too soon, the party is over. Time to start for home. The children wave good-bye to Alexandra as they leave. Sally and Alice hug Alexandra.

‘We must see each other again,’ says Alexandra.

‘Yes, real soon,’ says Sally.

Sally and Alice nod.

Albert is sorry the party is over. He waits until the very end, when all the others have left.

‘Thank you for inviting us,’ he says to Alexandra. ‘I’ll come again soon and we’ll play coconut ball. Would you like that?’

‘Oh, yes,’ she replies. ‘I’d like that very much.’

With a wave of his tail Albert turns toward home. He catches up to Pete and Palmer, who are waiting for him. They all run ahead and, with Sally and Alice, reach their side of the forest by late afternoon. They wave good-bye to each other as they separate to go to their family nests.

When Albert reaches his nest he tells his mother and father about the good time he had at Alexandra’s Birthday Party. He shows them the pictures Alexandra’s Daddy gave him.

Then Albert moves to his part of the nest, curls his tail around to cover his toes, and falls asleep.

The sun sinks behind a low hill and night settles on the forest.



Dinosaur .. . . . . . . di-no-sawr

Apatosaurus . . . . . . a-pat-o-sawr-us

Pentaceratops . . . . . pen-ta-ser-a-tops

ApatosauruS . . . . . . . a-pat-o-saw-rus

Pentaceratops . . . . . . pen-ta-ser-atops

Stegosaurus . . . . . .. . . steg-o-seras

Ankylosaurus . . . . . . . .. ank-ki-lo-sawr-us

Pterodactyl . . . . . . . ter-u-dak-til

Parasaurolophus . . . . . . . . . par-a-saw-rol-o-fus


Dinosauria Translation and Pronunciation Guide E at