Spoiler Alert: This review contains some storyline points so if you are not interested in hearing specific details of The Fabulous Flying Books..., please do not proceed.
Just a quick little review today on one of my favorite stories of all time, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, by Mr. William Joyce.
Let me start off by saying that I know it may seem at first glance that The Fantastic Flying Books…..was written for children, but I believe it was written for everybody – young and old alike. Some stories are ageless. This is one of them.
And next, let me say that I love this book.
I adore it. The reason I adore it is because of the way the story strikes a chord with me on an emotional and personal level. This book doesn’t just tell a story – it IS a story, if that makes sense. This quiet little book is alive, and it has so much to give. All you have to do is turn the pages and listen. The story will speak to you.
Reading this book is an experience. It has layers and complexities that are not at all obvious when you first pick it up and read it. In fact, I was quite unimpressed the first couple of times that I read it to my children. It wasn’t until I read it 3 or 4 times to them and then saw the Oscar-winning film short that expands on this story, that I truly began to fall in love. And now, its safe to say that I am head over heels. This story is beautiful and simple, yet the message – the message that I personally took from it – is incredibly powerful and that combination is what makes this book so special and unique.
Morris Lessmore is a quiet, simple man whose days are spent quietly reading story after story, book after book, while sitting on his balcony observing life going on in the street below. One day, his life is abruptly changed forever when his home and everything he has ever known is destroyed by a terrible storm. Feeling lost and hopeless he wanders around until he is guided to a very special library full of books. At first, Morris isn’t sure what to make of this very special library with its many unique inhabitants, but he quickly decides that he was meant to stay.
Morris became the caretake of the library’s inhabitants: living, moving, flying books all with a personality of their own. Some were old and needing care, some were young and full of life, but all found a special place in Morris’ heart.
Morris learned that becoming involved with all of these living books and helping to preserve them so that they could live on and help enrich the world was a very satisfying way to spend his days and forget all about everything he had lost… it was so much better than the isolation of his pre-storm life.
As somebody whose life blew up when my anxiety disorder erupted, I love this story so much.
My storm helped me find my true calling and put me on my right path and I see so much of my own story in this book.
The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore has beautiful illustrations. That is what initially drew me to this book. They are full of rich colors and they tell just as much of the story as the words do, and that is my favorite kind of story book. It is the kind of book that your children will say “No – don’t turn the page yet!”, because they will be so busy looking at the pictures.
I have read this book quite a few times, and have seen the movie many times and even to this day, I still find myself revealing another layer to the story every time I do. Every time I close the book, or turn off the movie, I have questions. You know how those of us with anxiety disorders are – we love to analyze and I find myself asking “What does this mean?” “What does this person represent?” “Why did this or that happen?” Then the next time I read it, the answer often reveals itself to me.
One thing that makes this book so special is that it is open to interpretation.
People can find their own meaning.
The message I personally take from this book is that we are here on this Earth to not only create and leave our own story behind, which is a huge theme of my life, but to become involved with other people and their stories as well. As the book says “Everyone’s story matters.” and that is a very easy thing to forget these days. This book reminds me to come out of my head and engage with others and help them through their troubling times, for that is truly the best way to forget our own troubles and keep worry and anxiety at bay.
It also reminds me that sometimes the worst thing that happens to us can be the best thing that ever happened to us, and it can set us on our way to finding our true calling in life. Before the storm, Morris’ book couldn’t fly. It had no magic. After spending his days at the library, as Morris is carried off into the sky, Morris’ now winged book happily flies to its rightful place with the other books.
Finally, I think the character’s name tells me another important lesson which can be learned from this book.
More is Less. Less is More.
This book is fascinating and fun and intriguing and a bit wondrous.
It is one of my very favorite books of all time. I can’t think of any other book that stirs up so much emotion in me. I cry every time. And watching the movie…….forget it. I am bawling my eyes out at the end. In a good way though. If ever there was a story of my life, this is it and I have a feeling that a lot of people will be able to relate as well.
The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore can be found on Amazon, where they give you a peek at a few pages, and at most major bookstores. The movie short of the same name can be downloaded instantly here on Amazon and it is absolutely amazing.
Thanks for reading and have a great day!
Header Image: Pixabay