Having failed to finish reading the book that was supposed to be today's Timeslip story (not because it was a bad book, but because of mundane things), I am falling back on one of the very few picture books I can think of that involve time travel (actually, I can't think of any others right now, but they must exist? yes?). So anyway.
Dinosaur Dream, written and illustrated by Dennis Nolan (Macmillan, 1990). Wilbur (a boy who bears an uncanny resemblance to my own) is obsessed with dinosaurs. His room is full of them--bedspread, posters, toys...and his favorite book is Through the Ages. One night, as he is reading it in bed, he hears a tapping at his window. It is a baby Apatosaur! Wilbur quickly realizes that he can't hide a young herbivore for long, so he decides to take the dinosaur, who he's named Gideon (after Gideon Mantell) home.
The two set of through the night woods. Soon they find themselves trudging through snow--they've walked back into the ice age!!! Narrowly escaping a saber-toothed cat, they head deeper into the past, into the Age of Mammals. Past volcanic eruptions, into the Cretaceous, where they have an alarming encounter with a triceratops, and an even closer call with a T-Rex. But that's not far enough....at last the two comrades plunge over a waterfall into the Jurassic! And the baby Apatosaur is home with its parents!
But Wilbur knows he can't stay in the past, no matter how fascinating it is. At last the largest Apatosaur gives him a ride home, back to the safety of his own bed.
The title makes it clear that the mechanics of time travel are a dream, and it is, after all, a picture book for children, who are, I think, more ready to accept that time travel just happens. For the child reader, it is as magical journey, brought to life by beautifully detailed pictures. It's one of the few books where child and dinosaurs co-exist in realistic illustrations, as if it could really happen. And the time travel device works well a way to frame the story of the millenia that separate the dinosaur obsessed kid from the objects of his affections!
My boys both liked this book lots--one primarily for the "science" aspect of it, and one for the scene where the baby dinosaur and his mama and dada are reunited (and the saber tooth cat), and both for the dreamlike pictures...