Weekend Special: Books So Good You Want To Become Them

Apr 28, 2012
Originally published on April 30, 2012 9:14 am

I don't remember who told me this tale, but it begins with a little boy, maybe 4 or 5, who is given a book. He opens it, begins to read, curls into it, won't look up, can't stop, looks at the pictures, turns the pages, keeps turning, turning, turning, until all too quickly, he's done, finished.

That's when he does this odd thing: He lays the book down, opens it wide and stands on it; one foot planted on opposite pages and, bending at the knees, pushes his heels down.

"What are you doing?" his mother asks.

Looking up, he says, "I want to get inside. How do I get inside?"

Some books are that good.

We who love books know what it feels like to plunge all the way in. I even know what it looks like, thanks to graphic novelist (author of Stitches) David Small. It looks like this:

Which brings me to this weekend's special. It's about a young man who loves books. It lasts 15 minutes, longish for a web experience, but I promise you, the time (and lots of books) will fly by. In fact, the tale begins when our hero is, literally, swept away and carried off by a Wizard of Oz-like storm that dumps him into a wreck of a place that has, luckily, a vast, spooky, magical library.

This little video won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 2011, so many of you may already know it. But for those of you who don't, who haven't seen The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, it's time to plunge in.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore was written by William Joyce and directed by William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg. The drawing is Reprinted from Stitches: A Memoir by David Small, © 2009 by David Small, with permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

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