Eric Rohmann’s Time Flies

Iphigene here.

This Caldecott Honor book takes its readers (or should I say viewer) into a world of wonder and adventure. Flipping through the pages of this wonderfully illustrated book, I recall my dinosaur days (those days when dinosaurs were just too cool to ignore). I think every child, upon first discovering dinosaurs, are taken back by the giant reptiles that once ruled the world.

In Time Flies we join a little bird’s adventure one stormy night. The tale begins at the very first page. We are introduced to the protagonist—a bird seeking shelter. The first page is divided into three horizontal panels that form an arch. It’s reminiscent of a window and an invitation to the viewer to peer. The reader may be tempted to skip pages 2 and 3 as it holds the title and author’s name: DO NOT BE MISLED. Take in the rich tones and detailed skeletal structures of the dinosaurs in what seems to be a natural museum. Here we discover where our protagonist finds shelter.

In this story we truly are spectators. We watch the bird as s/he flies and explores the museum. An ominous sight of lightning and shadows hints on something waiting to happen. And as the bird flies we move from the reddish-brown tones of the museum to something more lighter and greener. The transition from mere bones to flesh is fluid and amazing. Like the bird we stare in amazement how from dried bone we find ourselves in the dinosaur era. Rohmann’s artistry is exquisite in the rendering of this transition and time warp.

The bird flies through the era and the viewer is indulged to see all sorts of dinosaurs. My favorite was the juxtaposition of the bird and pterodactyl flying. It was a beautiful moment of seeing how nature has evolved. As we reach the end of the book, the bird finds itself with a t-rex once again. And like the beginning combination of lightning and t-rex bones, the bird gets eaten by the t-rex and on the lower left side of the page we find lightning. Just like that, the transition happens from flesh to bones and from lush colors to the reddish-brown.

The title is a wonderful play in the concept of evolution and the bird “flying” through time. The title alone is worth a short discussion between child and parent/guardian/teacher.  I bought Time Flies for two reasons: 1) Our GB Special of Wordless Picture Books and 2) The sense of wonder it offers. The book opens the reader’s imagination and leaves room for a rich discussion on dinosaur and evolution. I can already imagine children asking whether dinosaurs exist, what dinosaurs are being portrayed in the book and how did the bird end up in the dinosaur era. This book is a lovely piece of literature to present as introduction to the discussion of dinosaurs.

Eric Rohmann is a Caldecott winning author and illustrator from Chicago, Illinois. He also wrote the award winning picture book “My Friend Rabbit.” Aside from illustrating and writing picture books he also creates book jackets for other novels like Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials.

Source:
Book Images: Taken by me from my own copy of Time Flies
Author’s Image: From 7 Impossible thing
About the Author: From Wikipedia (click here)

Picture Book Challenge Update: 30 of 72

5 Comments on Eric Rohmann’s Time Flies

  1. Oh I also had a dinosaur phase as a kid. It started with the animated film Land Before Time. They are really fascinating creatures. That’s probably why Jurassic Park was such a hit as well. I noticed that to signify the danger the author made the shades darker and made use of lightning flashes. And on the page when the dinosaurs started to revert back to its fossilized from and the bird is free from danger everything becomes lighter in shade. =) Cool picture book. Very Night at the Museum.=)

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    • Hi Tin,
      Land before Time did it for me too! I even memorized the song. Haha. Anyway, I love your observation. I love how you pointed out about the darker shades to represent danger. It was exactly like that.
      It does have the night at the museum feel to it. Thanks for dropping by as always. 😀

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  2. myragarcesbacsal // March 20, 2011 at 6:38 pm // Reply

    Hi Mary. I know that picture books are not really your thing (maybe not by choice, but because of the lack of accessibility of really good ones given the state of our libraries even in the QC area) – how was your venture into the world of wordless tales?

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    • At first, if i were to be honest, i was not sure how i was going to review it and look into the pictures, but it is interesting. I’m actually thinking we should write a blog about why people should read wordless picture books or why wordless picture books matter. haha.

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      • myragarcesbacsal // March 20, 2011 at 8:00 pm // Reply

        Yup. I had exactly the same thought. I chanced upon a few scholarly articles on wordless picture books from the internet. I was thinking that we could do a point by point dissection and enumerate why it is crucial for educators and parents to introduce such wordless books to their own students/children. It’s just so amazing how the pictures can draw out so many potential responses from children – or even teenagers and young adults. I’m glad that you liked it though. I meant to review seven more books today and have them scheduled for posting in the next few weeks – but I was only able to manage two, yikes.

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