Book Review: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce
From Miss Jacqui at Lexington Branch

This story is all about the power of books and how they can transform lives, by lifting people up, changing them, and helping them become everything they are and want to become. The story resonates with children and adults alike who enjoy how a beloved book can take you on a journey. The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is actually a story that worked its way backwards into becoming a book. First it was an animated short film, which won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, then it was developed into an app, and finally, the story is now told in book form.

Morris Lessmore is a man who loves words, stories and books, who spends his time writing in his journal about the joys and sorrows of his life. When a storm sweeps through town, toppling houses and tearing the pages of his journal apart, his own world is uprooted. In despair, he decides to wander, and he comes across a young woman holding on to books, like one would hold on to balloons, who is flying through the air. Noticing Morris’s sadness, the flying woman offers him her favorite book. This flying book leads him to a wonderful place–the library. Morris is thrilled to find a place entirely devoted to books and the possibility of an adventure within the pages of the stories. Books line the walls and flutter through the air, and as soon as Morris starts reading, color and beauty returns to his life.

Morris spends time keeping the books in order and also caring for the books, including mending the bindings and pages of the books. When gray children and adults visit him, he enjoys sharing favorite and neglected books, and watching the children and adults come to life with rich color, just like he did. Each night, he continues to write in his journal. The days, months, and years pass and when he grows old, the books take care of him, just like he once helped mend and repair them. When he finally finishes his journal as an old man, he decides it is time to “move on.” He says goodbye to his friends, the books, and promises to always carry their stories in his heart. We see Morris fly away, just like the flying woman earlier in the book, holding on to strings attached to flying books.  However, shortly afterward, the journal he left behind is discovered by a little girl, who begins to read his journal, his story. The story ends just as it began, “with the opening of a book.”

The illustrations of the book have a truly magical, dreamy feel to them. The book feels like a classic, and might become a classic, due to the beautiful use of words and narrative phrases throughout the story. The book shows us the impact a book can have on a person’s life and how books can affect others, both inside and outside the library setting. This book is not just for those who already love books, it also can inspire those who don’t enjoy reading  to pick up a book and give it a try. So check this book out at your local library and enchant your child with a charming tale about the love of books.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore Trailer from Moonbot Studios on Vimeo.

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