Reading/Interest Level: Preschool, Primary, Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: William Joyce
Illustrator: William Joyce and Joe Bluhm
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Mr. Morris Lessmore is an avid reader and writer. But his peaceful, book-filled life is interrupted by a tragic storm that whisks him and his books away. His colorful life becomes a dreary, black and white shell of what it used to be. But one day he sees a young woman flying away with a handful of strings attached to flying books. She sees him and sends him one of her favorite books to cheer him up. He becomes fast friends with the book and meets many other books in a building where they all “nest.” Morris takes care of the books and helps other people find good stories to brighten their day. And he begins to write his own story once more. Years pass and he becomes too old to care for the books any longer. Finally, he finishes his own story and then leaves, flying away with a handful of strings attached to the flying books. The book he wrote is picked up by a girl and another story begins “with the opening of a book.”
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is absolutely charming. Inspired by the Academy Award-winning short film, this picture book captures the heart of why reading and storytelling are so vital to a happy and fulfilled life. And the cyclical nature of the story will pull at the heartstrings of any reader and may even cause a few tears to fall. The images in this book are taken directly from the short film and beautifully capture the reader’s attention and imagination. Particularly poignant are the black and white images of Mr. Morris post-storm contrasted with the brightly colored images of Mr. Morris as he enters the world of books, reading, and storytelling once more. The text is charming and fun and often interacts directly with the images. This contemplative story is truly a masterpiece and a must-have for any bibliophile.