Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore - William Joyce

Title: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
Author: William Joyce
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2012 (Hardcover)
Length: 52 pages
Genre: Children's Picture Book
Started: August 30, 2012
Finished: August 30, 2012

From the inside cover:

Morris Lessmore loved words.

He loved stories.

He loved books.

He loved books.

But every story has its upsets.

Everything in Morris Lessmore's life, including his own story, is scattered to the winds. But the power of story will save the day.

In case you haven't noticed, I'm a big book nerd. Bookworm, bibliophile, literary geek, you name it. I especially love stories about books and libraries. This picture book is the ultimate book about being a book lover, the transformative power books have over people's lives, and how our individual stories play a role in the bigger picture. There's a lot of deeper symbolism here as well, it would make for a wonderful discussion piece with slightly older children, or even to start little kids on the road to critical thinking.

The story is simple yet profound, and incredibly beautiful. The illustrations are gorgeous, from the 'lifeless' sepia scenes to the brilliant colours of the library and the countryside. My own geeky moment was highlighted at the scene with Morris repairing one of the books complete with a stethoscope and  the first thought in my head was, "he's doing book surgery!" (what I call fixing the books my students end up destroying).

There's also an Oscar-winning animated short film of the same name (I found the full version easily on youtube if anyone is interested in watching it), and it would be great to show kids in conjunction with the book, especially if any teachers want to integrate it into a media studies teaching moment.

Get this. Now. It doesn't matter if you have young children or older kids, or no kids at all, if you know a reader of any age, they will love this book. Heck, I'd say that even people who aren't big readers will still love this story, I think it's destined to become one of those universal stories that is special to everyone. I know this will be a treasured book in our family's personal library.

Thoughts on the cover:
I love the illustrator's style, there's a lot of bright, bold colours and I like the 'old-timey' atmosphere that the pictures evoke.

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