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Children's Fiction Friendship

The Fossil Hunters

by (author) Marilyn Helmer

illustrated by Dermot Walshe

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Nov 2009
Friendship, General, Emotions & Feelings
Recommended Age
6 to 8
Recommended Grade
1 to 3
Recommended Reading age
6 to 8
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2009
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Nov 2009
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Download Teacher’s Guide

Where to buy it


Shelley arrives at her aunt and uncle's cottage on Grey Rocks Lake and is excited to see her cousin Kyle. Her excitement quickly turns to disappointed when she discovers Kyle's friend Marcus is staying at the cottage too. Shelley feels left out of the boys' games. Then the fossil she found at the beach goes missing, and she thinks Marcus took it. But when Topper, Kyle's dog, loses her ball, Shelley and Marcus are given an opportunity to become friends.

About the authors

Marilyn Helmer was born in St. John's, Newfoundland, moved to New Brunswick, then to Quebec, then to Ireland, then back to Canada, all before she was five years old. Perhaps that is why she loves to travel, both in North America and abroad. Marilyn's main passion though is writing for children. She discovered a knack for storytelling at a very young age when she made up wild and creative excuses for the occasional bout of mischief. In elementary school she became an avid Nancy Drew fan. With a couple of like-minded friends, she began writing and telling her own mystery stories. But it wasn't until many years later, when she started reading to her son and daughter, that Marilyn's dream of writing for children was born. Success did not happen overnight but it did happen. Marilyn's stories, poems and articles have appeared in children's magazines and anthologies in Canada and the United States. Her published books include picturebooks, chapter books, novels, riddle books and retold fairy tales.

Marilyn Helmer's profile page

Dermot Walshe's profile page


  • Commended, CCBC Best Books

Excerpt: The Fossil Hunters (by (author) Marilyn Helmer; illustrated by Dermot Walshe)

"Marcus, come meet my cousin Shelley," Kyle called. Marcus walked over slowly. "Hi," he muttered. He looked at Shelley. "How old are you?" "I'm eight," said Shelley. "I'm ten," said Marcus. "You're just a kid." "I am not a kid," Shelley declared. She decided she did not like Marcus very much. She wished he would get back in his car and go home.

Editorial Reviews

"Perfect for a young reader...Many readers can put themselves in each character's place and think how they would have felt or reacted in the situation. I think this is a wonderful story for teaching about friendships and feelings. Recommended."

CM Magazine

"Young readers seven to nine will relate to its messages about friendship and how it feels to be left out."

Librarian Reviews

The Fossil Hunters (Orca Echoes)

Shelley arrives at her aunt and uncle’s cottage on Grey Rocks Lake and is excited to see her cousin Kyle again. When Kyle’s friend Marcus arrives, it changes the dynamics of the group, and Shelley and Marcus struggle to get along. Shelley finds a fantastic fossil that Marcus really wants, but will he go so far as to steal it?

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2011.

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