When Leo’s family moved to the countryside, he wasn’t happy. He missed seeing the city from his bedroom window and hearing the hum of traffic from the street below. But, most of all, he missed his friends.
“We’ve got a garden now – you can see that from your bedroom window instead!” said Dad.
“It’s lovely and peaceful round here,” said Mum with a contented sigh.
“You’ll never make new friends if you keep grumping around,” said Leo’s big sister, Alice.
Leo went up to his room and stared glumly out at the garden. It was a huge garden. There was a wood behind it and the trees looked great for climbing. Maybe he could even hang a swing from one of them. Wait… what was that?
“Did I just see…?” Leo was sure he’d seen something moving in the trees. Something big.
He pressed his nose against the glass. There it was again. The top of the tallest tree seemed to bow down to the ground and spring up again. The whole tree shuddered, sending a shower of leaves onto the lawn.
“What was that?” Leo wondered.
He didn’t have to wonder for too long. Suddenly a head popped up between the treetops. It was a big green head.
“Woah!” cried Leo, jumping back.
The big green head was looking at him with a curious expression. Leo stared back for a moment, and then sprinted down the stairs.
By the time he’d made it to the woods, everything was still and quiet. Leo looked left and right. He looked up and down. There was nothing. Not even a squirrel.
“I must have imagined it,” thought Leo. Just then, he heard a loud snort behind him. He spun round to see an extremely large and friendly-looking dinosaur standing right in front of him. It was bright green and as long as two double-decker buses!
“Hello!” said the dinosaur, smiling.
“You’re new here, aren’t you?” asked the dinosaur.
Leo gawped and nodded.
“You looked a bit miserable, so I thought I’d introduce myself.”
“Are you… a real live dinosaur?” gasped Leo.
“A cetiosaurus to be precise.”
“Cetiosaurus?” asked Leo.
“Yes, but you can call me Twiggy.”
“My name’s Leo. Does everyone around here have a dinosaur?”
“Oh, just you, Leo! The juiciest leaves, you see. I hope you don’t mind.”
Leo smiled. He didn’t mind at all.
“I’d better go,” said Twiggy. “Tummy’s rumbling. More leaf munching to do.”
Leo looked sad.
“Don’t be sad, I’ll see you again tomorrow,” said Twiggy, and he disappeared into the trees.
Leo couldn’t believe it. He ran into his new house, grinning from ear to ear.
“What’s cheered you up?” asked Alice.
“The dinosaur!” said Leo, breathless with excitement. “I just met him.”
Alice rolled her eyes, but Leo’s mum and dad smiled.
“Sounds like a fun game,” said Dad.
“It’s not a game,” said Leo. “He lives in the woods. He’s a cee… a ceti… a cetiosaurus!”
“Never heard of that one.” frowned Mum, and carried on unpacking boxes.
“He says our leaves are the juiciest. That’s why nobody else round here has a dinosaur.”
“Of course,” sniggered Alice.
“It’s true!” Leo protested, but it was no use. Nobody believed him.
The next morning, it was Leo’s first day at his new school. He felt nervous, but he didn’t want to admit it in case Alice teased him.
As they walked down the lane, Leo heard rustling in the trees.
He looked up. Twiggy was walking along beside him in the woods. He smiled down at Leo and winked. Leo waved up at him and suddenly felt a bit less nervous.
“Alice!” he cried. Alice was listening to music, so he shook her arm. “Look, it’s Twiggy. It’s our dinosaur!” he said, pointing at the trees.
Alice looked up, but she couldn’t see anything. Twiggy was too well hidden by the trees.
“Stop playing games,” she grumbled.
“It’s not a game. He was here just a second ago,” Leo insisted.
Alice tutted and turned up her music.
At school, the teacher asked three of the children to look after Leo at lunchtime. Leo felt a bit shy with them until he spotted Twiggy hiding behind the bike sheds. He waved and Twiggy grinned back at him.
“Who are you waving at?” asked one of the children.
“My dinosaur,” said Leo, but the other children couldn’t see anything.
“That’s a good game!” they laughed. “Can he play with our unicorns?”
“It’s not a game,” muttered Leo, but nobody heard him.
After school, Dad was waiting for Leo and Alice outside the school gates. “Come on, let’s go and check out the local park. Your mum’s busy sorting something out.”
Leo groaned. He wanted to visit Twiggy in the woods. To cheer him up, Dad promised to push him really high on the swings.
When Leo was up high in the sky, he spotted Twiggy behind a row of trees.
“Dad! It’s the dinosaur!” cried Leo.
“Is he on the seesaw?” chuckled Dad. “Is he a seesaw-us? I like this game!”
“It’s not a game.” Leo scowled.
When they got home, there was a surprise waiting for them. Mum had decorated the garden with balloons and bunting. There were sandwiches, sausage rolls and cakes – they were all set for a party.
“I’ve invited everyone from school,” said Mum. “I thought it would be a nice way to make new friends.”
Alice was excited, but Leo didn’t want to have a party with friends who didn’t believe him.
Soon the garden was bustling with people, laughing and chatting and having fun. Leo felt sad. He wished his old friends were here.
Then he heard a loud snort – it was Twiggy hiding in the trees!
“Twiggy!” grinned Leo. “Will you come and meet everyone, please? Nobody believes you’re real.”
“I suppose I could.” Twiggy smiled. “It’s not every day a dinosaur gets invited to a party – especially one with cake.”
Twiggy stepped into the garden and everybody gawped – especially Alice.
Then the children ran over to Twiggy. At last, everybody believed Leo.
“Who’s for a game of hide and seek?” asked Twiggy.
“Now, that is a game!” said Leo to his new friends, “but I’ve got to warn you – Twiggy’s very good at it!”