The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (Atheneum, 2012)
Thursday, 26th July, 2012 § 1 Comment
I recently received this wonderful children’s book which I ordered online from Amazon two weeks ago. You may or may not have seen the animated short. It’s about a Mr. Morris Lessmore (Less is more, get it?) who lost all his books (even the very words in his journal) to a great hurricane that blew away his house, his books and himself.
Literally at a loss for words, Mr. Lessmore wanders morosely until he notices a woman being pulled along by a squadron of flying books. The woman perhaps noticing Mr. Lessmore is less than happy (his whole body is monochrome after losing his books while the world around him is bright in colour) sends her favourite book to accompany Morris and take him to a place where she was sure he would be happy: “a building where many books apparently “nested”". In other words, Morris Lessmore arrived at a library. He finds a new lease of life here, taking care of the orphaned books and repairing the damaged ones. One book is healed by having Morris read it. The very act of reading the words contained in the book makes the book seem new and fresh again. Reading and being read breaths new life to the books and to the person reading it and perhaps that is the point of The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. Reading is a curative exercise.
It is also about loss. While the stories in the books are timeless, Morris Lessmore ages and one day he leaves the library the same way the woman whom he encountered all those years ago left; by being pulled into the sky by books flapping their pages. Who then will look after the orphaned books?
This may be a book marketed at children but the message and the allusions will be much more appreciated by an adult. I have yet to see Morris Lessmore at the local bookshops and as I have stated above, I bought mine from Amazon. I also sent a copy as a gift to author Nisah Haron and she has reviewed it, much better than I have, in her blog. Note: She writes in Malay.
Here is the animated short which won an Oscar at this year’s Academy Awards: