Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Join as a sustainer and support independent local news for your community.

Weekend Special: Books So Good You Want To Become Them

A boy diving into a book.
David Small

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.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Robert Krulwich works on radio, podcasts, video, the blogosphere. He has been called "the most inventive network reporter in television" by TV Guide.

You make NHPR possible.

NHPR is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.