cover image Time Flies

Time Flies

Eric Rohmann. Crown Publishers, $17 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-517-59598-5

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Yes, no--it's a metaphor! Rohmann's wordless first book shows a bird flying into a dinosaur museum one dark and stormy night. The bird flits about, perching on a dinosaur jaw and soaring on. As it flies past one particular behemoth, the bones of the creature are suddenly cloaked in flesh; the bird has entered a prehistoric landscape. A dinosaur eventually swallows the bird, but as it wings its way down the creature's throat and through its digestive system, the would-be predator is transformed to a skeleton and the bird returns once again to the museum hall. The meaning of this exercise is unclear, although a jacket note explains that Rohmann was ``inspired by the theory that birds are the modern relatives of the dinosaurs.'' The target audience will likely be mystified. Slightly older readers, however, might be intrigued by the time-travel conceit and the scientifically minded will be wowed by Rohmann's oil paintings, which capture the textures of bone, tooth, eyeball, etc., with as much attentiveness and morbidity as, say, an 18th-century still life of gamebirds. Ages 4-9. (Mar.)