All of the ideas for this story came from the grade 5/6 class at Oyen Public School (Oyen, Alberta) over the course of two video sessions. After we filled out a planning sheet together (shown at the end of this post), they each wrote their own version of the story. I shared mine with them when they were done. We had so much fun!
Gerome the dinosaur ran up to his mother right in the middle of her conversation with two other momosaurs. “Mom! I’m hungry!”
She ignored her son for just long enough to finish her sentence, then turned to him. “The next time you interrupt me like that, I’ll give you a good headbutt!”
Gerome stepped back. A headbutt from a mama pachycephalosaurus was not a thing any dino child wanted.
“Besides,” she continued, “you’re old enough to feed yourself.”
“But I want banan—”
His mother lowered her head, and Gerome ran off before she could follow through on her threat.
Once he reached a safe distance, Gerome sat down in a huff, mumbling, “What am I supposed to do? Eat leaves? Grass?”
Just that morning, he’d tasted bananas for the first time in his life. Seeing them high up in a tree, he’d asked his mother what they were. “I’ll show you,” she said, and headbutted the tree, knocking the delicious fruit to the ground. Those bananas were the best thing he’d ever tasted!
As Gerome sat there drooling, his best friend wandered by. “Hey Steve,” Gerome said, “wanna go banana hunting with me? If we—”
“Huh?” Steve, in daze, stopped and shook his head. “Bananas? Why would I want bananas?”
“What? Are you kidding me? Bananas are the best thing ever. You gotta try ‘em!”
“Oh, Gerome,” Steve said, “of course I’ve tried bananas. Everybody has! But there’s something I love way more than them.”
Gerome’s mouth dropped open. Better than bananas? “What is it?” he asked his friend.
Steve broke into a huge, silly grin. “My girlfriend. I’m going to see her right now!” And with that he ran off.
“Girlfriends are better than bananas?” Gerome called after his friend, who by now was already too far away to even hear his question. He remembered the delightful fruit he’d enjoyed that morning, and how eating it had made him feel happy all over. “If girlfriends are better than that,” he decided, “I definitely want one!”
No sooner did Gerome rise to his feet than he heard a chitter-chattering high up in a nearby tree. Looking up, he beheld a truly beautiful sight: an extremely cute girl monkey . . . holding a banana!
Once he caught his breath, Gerome said, “That is the girl for me.” With his heart pounding, Gerome marched straight for the tree.
Unfortunately, he was only halfway there when what he saw next stopped him cold.
Another monkey had just arrived beside the girl of his dreams. A boy monkey.
And she smiled at him.
Gerome could only stand and stare as the two of them laughed and talked for several minutes. Then, just before the boy monkey left, she kissed him on the cheek, confirming Gerome’s worst fear—the love of his life already had a boyfriend.
As the boy monkey jumped off into another tree, Gerome just stood there, stunned. What could he do? If she had a boyfr—
Gerome’s stomach rumbled. And in that moment, knowing he had the solution to all of his problems, he ran off after that monkey.
* * *
Gerome spent the next half hour chasing the little guy through the forest as he leapt from tree to tree. By that time, Gerome was so exhausted that he would’ve quit if the monkey hadn’t slid down a tree trunk and scurried into a nearby cave.
“I’ve never seen a monkey go into a cave before,” Gerome said. “What’s he up to?”
The exhausted dinosaur had fallen well behind the monkey, so it took him a few minutes to get to the cave. When he entered, he knew exactly why the monkey had come here. “Bananas! Gerome exclaimed. The cave was full of the tasty yellow fruit, but the monkey was nowhere to be seen. Observing a tunnel at the back of the cave, Gerome realized that the little fellow must have gone on further in. Were there even more bananas in there?
Gerome shrugged. He’d figure that out later. Now he was hungry!
* * *
Half an hour later, Gerome groaned as he lay flat on his back in the cool cave, his belly sticking up like an island in the ocean. He was very full, but those had been the most glorious thirty minutes of his life. Then, as he lay there with an enormous smile on his face, he remembered what his good friend had told him just a little while earlier. “Girlfriends are better than bananas!” Gerome shouted, pushing himself to his feet.
Outside the cave, Gerome knew just what to do. Using his very hard head, (along with the energy from a thousand bananas), he rolled a dozen boulders over to block the entrance to the cave. “There. That’ll keep that pesky monkey out of my way for a while.”
Fueled by bananas, Gerome arrived back home in no time. Approaching the tree where he’d last seen the love of his life, he was surprised to see her slumped at the foot of the tree, weeping. Gerome shrugged. “I’ll go comfort her,” he thought. “Then she’ll want to be my girlfriend.”
When he arrived in front of her, she didn’t even look up. An awkward minute passed before Gerome cleared his throat.
The monkey wiped her eyes and sniffed. “Yes?” she managed.
“There, there,” Gerome said.
“Who even are you?”
“I’m Gerome. Your new boyfriend.”
She looked at him like he had lost his mind. “I already have a boyfriend,” she said, “but he . . . he’s late. He was supposed to bring me some bananas, but . . .” She burst into tears again.
Well, this wasn’t going according to Gerome’s plan. As the girl monkey wept at his feet, he thought carefully. She still seemed to care about her silly monkey boyfriend. And she didn’t even jump up and kiss Gerome or anything!
He needed to impress her. “I ate him,” he said.
“WHAT!” She jumped to her feet, rage written across her entire body.
Gerome took a step back. “You know, cuz I’m a big, tough dinosaur, and—”
In a flash, the girl monkey shimmied up the tree trunk and, when she was level with Gerome’s head, slapped him hard across the face.
“Owie!” Gerome shrieked, then turned and ran for his life.
* * *
Gerome arrived back at the mouth of the cave. On the way there, he’d had lots of time to think. There were still a few things he didn’t understand, but he had managed to come up with a plan.
Bending forward, he knocked a boulder off the top of the pile that blocked the entrance. Two monkey eyes immediately peered out from the darkness of the cave.
“Hello,” Gerome said. “We need to talk.”
* * *
It didn’t take long for Gerome and the monkey (named Alonzo, Gerome discovered) to come to an agreement. Alonzo, after all, very much wanted to get out of the cave and return to his love.
The trip back home was quick as well. Gerome had made sure he filled up on bananas before leaving, and was happy to carry the monkey on his back. When they arrived back at the tree where it had all started, they discovered the girl monkey slumped sadly up in a branch, plucking the petals off a flower and saying, “He loves me . . . he loves me not . . .”
Alonzo jumped off of the pachycephalosaurus’s back, ran to the bottom of the tree, and called out, “Priscilla! My beloved, I have returned to you!”
Priscilla’s mouth fell open, she dropped the flower, and hearts floated out of her tiny ears like bubbles from a bubble wand. Then she shook her head and looked at Gerome. “Wait a minute. You said you ate him!”
“Erm . . .” Gerome said. Well, this was awkward. “I . . . um . . . pooped him out . . .?”
Surprisingly, that answer seemed to be good enough for Priscilla. She leapt right down from the tree and threw her arms around her boyfriend.
Gerome didn’t stick around to watch the reunion. If the day had taught him anything, it was that all that romance nonsense was completely overrated.
* * *
Gerome arrived back at the cave for the third time. Alonzo had explained that the tunnel Gerome had seen earlier did actually lead to another, much larger cave further back. Entering it now, Gerome’s mouth widened into a huge, silly grin.
He raced forward, closed his eyes and dove into the largest pile of bananas ever gathered in the history of the world.
“Romance, shmomance,” he murmured. Because what Gerome really loved . . . were bananas.
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