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on January 14, 2001
I often use this beautifully illustrated book in my classroom of 3-5 year olds. As the children view the pictures they begin talking about what they see happening without any facillitation from me. This is an excellent book to use in the classroom to promote language! Everytime we read it our plot changes a little bit! This book should be in every classroom library!
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I wonder what the process is behind author/illustrators of picture books making their very first wordless title. Is it something they all secretly want to do but only a few dare to? Does everyone make one and then publishers get scared and refuse to publish them? Why are there only a few on the market today? Obviously when Eric Rohmann's, "Time Flies" won the Caldecott Honor it probably raised the status of wordless picture books everywhere. I'm not suggesting that it was the first book of its kind or even the best but since its publication we've enjoyed other wordless titles like fellow Honor, "The Red Book" by Barbara Lehman and "The Boy, the Bear, the Baron, and the Bard" by Gregory Rogers. Eric Rohmann would later go on to garner the full Caldecott Award for, "My Friend Rabbit", a book done in a style entirely different from that of most of his work. By and large Rohmann feels more comfortable with gentle surrealism as in, "Cinder-Eyed Cats" and "Clara and Asha", though he's not afraid to go off and make a "Pumpkinhead" for the heck of it. In "Time Flies" we are taken on a wordless trip back and forth through time with a creature that may well be visiting his own ancestors.

On a dark and stormy orange-skied night, a small bird flies into a natural history museum of some sort. As the bird glides, perches, and looks about the hall full of bones, things begin to change around it. A bolt of lightning lights up the scene and before you know it the bird has been sent back in time to when dinosaurs weren't macabre displays but living breathing creatures. The bird flaps about brontosaurus, flies just in front of pterodactyls, and finally (in a surprise move on Rohmann's part) is snapped up by the T-Rex. Don't fret for the birdy, though. Suddenly we're with it, flying down the T-Rex's throat. An increasingly bony throat. The bird flies out of the back of the skeleton and into a half-past half-present world. As it escapes into the night a pterodactyl statue views it keenly from its perch.

Though the book makes no reference to this, I did like the juxtaposition of a bird with dinosaurs. The theory that birds are descended from the dinos is more than convincing and it would have been nice if Rohmann had slipped in a clever allusion here or there. To be fair though, this book came out in 1994 and the theory was hardly as widespread then as it is now. Rohmann plays with light and shadow in this book, conjuring up horror films and dark noirs with his use of dark tones and flickers. I give him great kudos for the moment in which the bird gets snapped up. One minute it's there. The next a T¬-Rex is looking mighty pleased with itself as some feathers float gently to the forest floor. The thrill of shock kids will feel will be immediately alleviated by the safe n' sound feathered one booking it to the back of the monster's throat. Still, it's the moment that counts. And it's lovely.

The book bears some slight similarities to "Fledgling" by Robert J. Blake in that both books offer lush views of a small bird flying through unbelievable perils. A pairing of the two together would make for an excellent bird-centric private storytime. Of course the obvious pairing here is with anything made by David Wiesner. "Sector 7" or "Tuesday" (both wordless) perfected this kind of realistic surrealism in mute picture books. Rohmann does a nice enough job, but "Time Flies" lacks Wiesner's panache and oomph. It's just an awfully nice title with dinosaurs for the ancient-reptile-centric. All in all, I would not hesitate in the least to recommend this book to every kiddie that clamors for it. A great book and an enjoyable ride.
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on April 22, 2015
I love this book. The art is fantastic. The 'story' is well presented, and hints at the fact that dinosaurs are the ancestors of birds! Spoiler alert - there are no words in this book. It is purely a picture book.
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on January 7, 2013
I really like this illustrator so I basically bought this to add to my collection. Since this is literally a picture book (no words at all) if you are good at encouraging your child to formulate her own story this could work well as a magical journey you take together. If you're not good at making up stories you might not like this book.
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on September 9, 2008
Time Flies is a wordless picturebook. In the story, a little bird is flying through the dinosaur bones in a museum when the dinosaurs suddenly come to life, covered in skin and looking for lunch! In the end, the dinosaurs are changing back to bones and the little bird flies off to safety.

This book was difficult for me. I had to really examine the pages to be able to tell the story...but maybe that is the point of a wordless picture book. My own disinterest in dinosaurs probably contributed as well, but I need to try to balance that with the fact that my students and my daughters are very interested in dinosaur books. Reader's response drives me to continue exploring the topic in order to reach children.

In the classroom, I might show children photos of the dinosaur exhibits at a museum or actually take a trip to the museum. In addition, supplimenting this book with a variety of informational books about dinosaurs would be interesting. It could even be used as a transition into the human body and our own skeletal system.
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on March 7, 2000
In this magical wordless picture book, Rohmann does a great job of setting the scene in a history museum. When a bird flies through the area with the dinosaur skeletons, The area suddenly comes to life. The walls become trees and beautiful landscapes. The bird is swallowed by one of the now living dinosaurs and as he escapes Rohmann takes us back to reality of the dinosaur skeletons and fossils. The pictures are amazing! I can see why he won the Caldecott award.
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If you are fortunate enough to have a child, grandchild or know of a child (or adult for that matter), who has that creative spark, that is touched with that difficult to define imagination which is becoming so rare, and is blessed with the ability to soar beyond the everyday mundane realities of life, then this is a perfect book to present them. Eric Rohmann more or less was one of the founding fathers of the wordless books for the young. No, he was not the first, but he certainly influenced many wonderful works of this ilk and gave a strong tone of respectability to the genre.

A bird, a rather marvelous bird flies into a museum where it encounters a hall devoted to the skeletal remains of dinosaurs, all displayed in somber colors. Our little bird embarks upon a journey of imagination and speculation via the wonderful art work of the author. The bird travels trough times, back through time to the beginnings of his or her species. Gradually the skeletons gain flesh and life and the little bird travels through time to the age of these magnificent beasts.

The reader must watch closely as they leaf through this book...watch for the wonderful and imaginative details! Gradually we see, mixed with these extinct creatures, remnants of lost and vanished civilizations which conjure up visions of a lost Atlantis, overgrown with the forefathers of forefathers of our trees and plants.

The details of this work are rather amazing. The dark and brooding colors contracted with the constant movement and flashes of brightness have almost a hypnotic effect. I have watch otherwise hyperactive kids be totally engrossed and silent while reading (or I should say gazing) at this work. You can actually see their minds wonder and speculate...their imaginations are captured!

This is one of those books that can be read by dozens of children and dozens of adults and when asked what they received from viewing the story, you will get literally dozens of answers. It just does not get much better than this. The reader is allowed the privilege of supplying their own words, come to their own conclusions and be lost for a time in a world which is neither here nor there.

I highly recommend this one for your child's library and truly home your child, he or she, is the sort that will be mesmerized by what the author has offered here. If so, you have a very special child on your hands.

Don Blankenship
The Ozarks
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on October 9, 2010
The detailed illustrations in this wordless picture book carry the story very well... words would have cluttered the adventure of this story. As a preschool teacher, integrating wordless picture books offers variety to my repetoire and sparks my students' imaginations. Children seem to identify well with the tone of the book, slow transitions that offer exciting results. Emerging literacy is supported by allowing the reader to add his/her own interpretation of the artwork. Rohmann's work is an ideal companion for a natural history or science museum field trip, or family trip.
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on June 5, 2010
Don't get me wrong -- this is a beautiful picture book that "tells" a wonderful, creative story. But it falls so far short of "Flotsam" by David Wiesner, another wordless story, that the two can't even be compared. This book just doesn't "grab" you the way "Flotsam" does. "Flotsam" is inspirational... "Time Flies" is interesting.

We liked it, and the illustrations and the idea are beautiful. But reading it didn't enthrall us, and I'm glad we got it from the library rather than buying it.
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on April 15, 2015
Excellent books. My kids are fascinated by the images. If your kids love dinos, they will enjoy it. Not for little kids (under 3), though, as they will destroy the pages.
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