What kid wouldn’t want to learn about a flying friar who is known by faithful pilots everywhere? Especially when it is riddled with humor, beautiful art, humility, joy, and how to handle both loneliness and popularity? The Little Friar Who Flew, by Patricia Lee Gauch and Illustrated by Tomie De Paola does all this so beautifully!
Anything illustrated by Tomie dePaola is always so inviting and draws you into the book. I’m so grateful for these republications of classics that Magnificat and Ignatius Press are putting out featuring dePaola’s art.
It starts off with the story of Joseph, a foolish and clumsy boy who annoyed most everyone around with the blunders and ill-manners. When he grew, his character grew with him, but his clumsiness remained. He served the local friars, but in his foolish ways he dropped and broke things—he couldn’t even tell the difference between white and brown bread! Eventually even they shooed him away.
He began to spend more and more time alone and, in his humility, began to call himself, “little donkey.” In the isolation, he realized very quickly that he wasn’t actually alone at all. He spoke to the creatures around him, calling them “sister” and “brother” much like St. Francis of Assisi is known to do. He found a Marian garden and his relationship with the Holy Mother began to grow as he brought her gifts. As his relationship with God and His creation grew, his joy expanded. He didn’t need popularity, he was so overjoyed and content with his relationship with God that he slowly began to find himself flying!!
He was quickly noticed by the villagers, the good friars and even the bishop. The bishop requested he become one of the friars and spread his joy among the community and villages. Even though he mainly did manual humble work, such as scrubbing floors, his joy continued growing until he was flying much of the time. They saw the beauty of his joy and his flying gift and sent the flying friar to travel and share his joy and relationship with Jesus wherever he went. Some hilarious stories come of the flying and picking people or animals up to join him in flight ensue.
Eventually his popularity grew to an unhealthy level and with the bishop and other good friars he decided to live more of the humble life of a hermit among the animals and nature once again. But just as when he was younger, he found he still wasn’t alone, and the source of his joy was truly founded in Jesus. His relationship with Jesus and the Holy Mother reminded him of God the Father’s love daily and his joy continued to grow.
This book will be an instant favorite ready to stand the test of time, get it for your own collection and the children in your life by clicking here!