Module 1: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce, Illustrated by William Joyce & Joe Bluhm
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is a book about the wonders of opening up your imagination through the stories contained in books. The story begins with Mr. Lessmore writing down his own experiences in a book. As a storm approaches, he is blown away along with his book and everything written inside it. Mr. Lessmore is saddened by the loss of his book and wanders aimlessly until he is approached by a young woman who is being carried upward by flying books on strings. The young woman sees Mr. Lessmore’s woe and sends her favorite flying book to him. The book beckons him to a library filled with more flying books. Mr. Lessmore decides to live in the library while caring for all of the books. He resumes writing in his own book and soon has filled many pages. He also starts lending the flying library books to the local towns people. After a great deal of time has passed, Mr. Lessmore has finally completed his book. He is whisked away by the flying books – just like the woman he saw years ago – and regains his youth. After he is gone, a young girl is beckoned into the library, finds Mr. Lessmore’s completed book and begins to read.
I absolutely love this book. I may be biased because I intend to go into the field of library sciences but I think this is a fantastic book. The story is beautifully written to incorporate the tales of woe and wonder that can be found inside books. Mr. Lessmore’s imaginative story is vibrant and compelling. The illustrations within this book are great aids to the story telling as well. Joyce uses black and white drawings to truly convey the sadness of Mr. Lessmore and the change to rich, lively colors to enhance the whimsical transformation in the towns people when they first experience a book. My favorite illustrations in the book are that of Mr. Lessmore traipsing through the pages of the books as he reads. Reading this story causes emotions to stir up inside me; this book almost always makes me cry. I feel similarly about the short film.
“(3) In this affectionate love letter, a lady propelled by “flying books” tosses one to Morris Lessmore, which leads him to an enticing library. Years pass as he takes care of the animated volumes; finally the aged Morris flies away on the wings of books, his place taken by a girl. The multimedia illustrations are rendered in Joyce’s Hopperesque style and luminescent colors.” (Rating system – 3 = Recommended, satisfactory in style, content, and/or illustration.)
– Joanna Long
“..The artwork is beautifully matched with the text but is worthy of standing on its own to tell this extraordinary tale. Book lovers of all ages will want to have a copy of this picture book in their collections, it is sure to become a classic.”
– Amy Merrill
I think this book would be great to get children excited about reading. Specifically I believe it would be beneficial for a story time to kickoff a school reading or a summer reading program. It may also be a good book to read before a writing workshop to get kids excited about writing their own stories and feeling more comfortable sharing them with other students.
Heller, N. (2012, August 23). Hanging on Every Word: The Fantastic Flying Book of Mr. Morris Lessmore. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com
Joyce, W., & Bluhm, P. (Illustrator). (2012) The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. New York: Antheneum Books for Young Readers.
Long, J. R. (2012). Joyce, William: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. The Horn Book Guide 23(2), 30. Retrieved from Literature Resource Center.
Merrill, A. (2012). The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. [A Review of the book The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, by W. Joyce]. Library Media Connection 31(3), 60. Retrieved from Ebsco Host.