Wednesday, January 2, 2013


I was going to use this for a Perfect Picture Book Friday submission, but, of course, it has already been reviewed.  It is my FAVORITE book of 2012, though, so I can't keep it to myself.  Take a look!

Title: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Author/Illustrator: William Joyce/William Joyce and Joe Bluhm

Publisher/Date: Atheneum Books for Young Readers/2012

Genre/Audience: Fiction/4+

Themes: Books, Life, Fantasy, Sharing, Time

Opening: "Morris Lessmore loved words. He loved stories. He loved books. His life was a book of his own writing, one orderly page after another. He would open it every morning and write of his joys and sorrows, of all that he knew and everything that he hoped for."

Synopsis from Kirkus Reviews* "Ironically, this book in praise of books first appeared as a much-praised iPad app and Academy Award–winning animated short film. The story, in a nutshell, concerns the titular book-loving Mr. Morris Lessmore, whose personal library is blown away in a terrible wind but who finds meaning caring for the books he finds in a marvelous library. Filled with both literary (Shakespeare, Humpty-Dumpty) and film references (The Wizard of Oz, The Red Balloon and Buster Keaton), the picture book version of Joyce's story has a quiet contemplative charm that demonstrates the continuing allure of the printed page. Paradoxically, the animated books of the film and app are captured as though in a series of frozen frames. The motif of the bound, printed book is everywhere. Even the furnishings and architectural details of the old-fashioned library in which the books “nest” like flying birds recall the codex. The unifying metaphor of life as story is a powerful one, as is the theme of the transformative power of books. The emphasis on connecting readers and books and the care of books pays homage to librarianship. Rich in allusions (“Less is More”) and brilliant in depicting the passage of time (images conflate times of day, seasons and years), Joyce’s work will inspire contemplation of the power of the book in its many forms. As triumphant in book form as in animated and interactive ones."
--Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Why I Love This Book:
From the play on words with the main character's name to the brilliant illustrations, especially those that juxtapose black and white with color (my favorite being the page where the people waiting for a book are in shades of gray and once they receive once, they are in color!), I was in love. I can relate to Morris because I, too, love words, stories, and books. The story is so multi-layered that my young sons were enthralled by the flying books and I was enthralled with the life lessons: "Morris simply needed a good story."


  1. I so loved the Oscar-winning short film. I absolutely MUST read the book. Thank you for sharing it!

    1. And I haven't seen the film yet! I plan on looking it up today :)

    2. Wow! What an experience. I loved the short film. The allusions are really powerful in animation.