Eric Rohmann's Time Flies
Children's book review by Steve Barancik
A bird meets his dinosaur ancestors
Lightning flares in the night sky around the Natural History Museum (Dr. Frankenstein's Natural History Museum?) as a lone bird wings in that direction and secures entry through an open window.
The bird finds himself flapping among the skeletons in the Dinosaur Hall. In a stunning image, he perches upon a pointed tooth in a fearsome Albertosaurus's jaw.
But only for a moment.
As lightning flashes again, he flies the length of a crested Parasaurolophus, but it's a notable journey. As he flies left to right, tail to head...
The dinosaur transforms from fossil to living thing. And the bird finds himself in daylight, outdoors, along a riverside, flying among these born-again prehistoric creatures.
A winged, meat-eating pteranodon tears after him, only to back off as the peaceful giant, Camarasaurus, intercedes. But then the bird bumbles once again into the jaws of Albertosaurus, only this time the fearsome creature lives...and swallows him.
But, off in the distance, lightning again flashes, and our bird friend emerges from the carnivore's once again skeletal form.
Time Flies, by Eric Rohmann
This unique and wordless work, filled with two page spreads of Eric Rohmann's Caldecott Honor oil paintings, is sure to delight the dinosaur-obsessed. The author-illustrator explains that the piece was "inspired by the theory that birds are the modern relatives of dinosaurs."
(If so, we can certainly accept that the bird's visit to the museum holds even more interest for him than it would for us!)
The inside cover asks:
Is Time Flies a dream? Or is it the bird's faint memory of its ancient dinosaur ancestors?
It's an interesting question. Unless your child is a true dinophile, Time Flies may not have the narrative richness that justifies repeated readings and a permanent place on your bookshelf, but it's certainly worth a trip to the library.
Webmaster's note: You may also want to read our review of Waterhouse Hawkins, the oversized kid who first created life-sized dinosaur models for the world to explore. It's a much more substantial story.
More Caldecott honorees.
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