The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

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Overview

The book that inspired the Academy Awardwinning short film, from New York Times bestselling author and beloved visionary William Joyce.

Morris Lessmore loved words.
He loved stories.
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.
Stunningly brought to life by William Joyce, one of the preeminent creators in children’s literature, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is a modern masterpiece, showing that in today’s world of traditional books, eBooks, and apps, it’s story that we truly celebrate—and this story, no matter how you tell it, begs to be read again and again.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442457027
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date: 06/19/2012
Pages: 56
Sales rank: 56,060
Product dimensions: 8.40(w) x 11.80(h) x 0.46(d)
Lexile: AD650L (what's this?)
Age Range: 4 - 8 Years

About the Author

William Joyce does a lot of stuff but children’s books are his true bailiwick (The Guardians, Dinosaur Bob, George Shrinks, and the #1 New York Times bestselling The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, which is also his Academy Award–winning short film, to name a few). He lives in Shreveport, Louisiana. Talk to William Joyce and look at upcoming work at @HeyBillJoyce on Twitter and Instagram.

Joe Bluhm is an Academy Award–winning artist who worked with William Joyce on The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. He’s also a character designer, animator, and recovering theme park caricaturist. He lives in Louisiana. Visit him at JoeBluhm.Blogspot.com.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

* 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

"Joyce’s magnificently illustrated book-about-books inspired—yet arrives after—his 2011 animated short film of the same name, which won an Oscar. The unusual sequence of film-to-book (there’s an app, too) suggests that while books are indeed glorious things, what really matters is story. This one follows a dreamy bibliophile named Morris Lessmore, who loses his cherished book collection to a cataclysmic storm that’s half Katrina (Joyce is from Louisiana) and half Wizard of Oz. After meeting a “lovely lady... being pulled along by a festive squadron of flying books,” Morris finds an abandoned library whose books are alive and whose covers beat like the wings of birds. They flutter around him protectively, watch as he starts writing again, and care for him as he ages: “They read themselves to him each night.” Underneath this book-about-books, there’s a deeper story of love, loss, and healing, one that will be appreciated as much (if not more) by adults as by children."

Publishers Weekly

* "If you loved the Oscar-winning film that goes by the same title, you will take to heart the book on which it is based. William Joyce exploits each medium to the fullest.

Morris Lessmore's life 'was a book of his own writing, one orderly page after another.' This serene opening scene shatters when a twister carries Morris away and sets him down in a black-and-white terrain. A woman appears in vibrant color in the sky, pulled by 'a festive squadron of flying books.' She sends down a volume with Humpty Dumpty featured in its pages, and the fellow leads Morris to a large building where light shines through the windows and shelves of books flutter their pages, 'as if each book were asking to be opened.'

In Joyce's artwork, the books come to life as a full cast of characters. After Morris repairs a damaged book, he reads it to revive it. He runs across the tops of capital letters and dangles from the hook of a J. 'All stories matter,'" he concludes. As Morris distributes books to his queued-up neighbors, they turn from black-and-white sketches to full-color portraits. In the most moving scene, the books surround the now white-haired man: 'Morris Lessmore became stooped and crinkly. But the books never changed. Their stories stayed the same,'" and they care for him as he has cared for them.

Morris stands in for all book lovers, and reminds us of the way stories live on only when we share them."

Shelf Awareness, starred review

JOYCE, William. The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. illus. by author. 56p. S & S/Atheneum. 2012. ebook $12.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-6489-6; Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-5702-7. Pre-Gr 3–Joyce’s Academy Award-winning animated short-film-turned-app that celebrates those who care about (and receive nourishment from) books is, ironically, now a picture book. The wonder and mystery inherent in the wordless film and the ability to manipulate the visuals and play the soundtrack on the app’s piano beg the question: Can the book compete? As it turns out, the book has its own rewards. Clarity comes from Joyce’s well-chosen words. In the opening on a New Orleans balcony, readers learn that Morris “loved words…stories…books.” Every day he would “write of his joys and sorrows, of all that he knew and everything that he hoped for.” When an Oz-like storm turns everything topsy-turvy, the melancholy man in the pork-pie hat spots a lady held aloft by a “festive squadron of flying books.” Her gift leads Morris to a book-filled sanctuary set in a landscape staged and lit like a Maxfield Parrish painting. He tends to the volumes, distributing favorites to visitors, whose once-gray bodies blossom with color. Every life and story ends, and those struggling with their own goodbyes (and yearnings about printed books) may find comfort in seeing the fading elder revert to his younger self in order to be transported by the joyful squadron–just as a little girl arrives to choose Morris’s story. The author’s motivations (explained on the flap) will resonate with adults in the reading business. The best part? Lingering quietly while savoring the atmospheric scenes of Joyce’s narrative vignette.

-SLJ, August 2012

"Joyce’s Academy Award-winning animated short-film-turned-app that celebrates those who care about (and receive nourishment from) books is, ironically, now a picture book. The wonder and mystery inherent in the wordless film and the ability to manipulate the visuals and play the soundtrack on the app’s piano beg the question: Can the book compete? As it turns out, the book has its own rewards. Clarity comes from Joyce’s well-chosen words. In the opening on a New Orleans balcony, readers learn that Morris “loved words…stories…books.” Every day he would “write of his joys and sorrows, of all that he knew and everything that he hoped for.” When an Oz-like storm turns everything topsy-turvy, the melancholy man in the pork-pie hat spots a lady held aloft by a “festive squadron of flying books.” Her gift leads Morris to a book-filled sanctuary set in a landscape staged and lit like a Maxfield Parrish painting. He tends to the volumes, distributing favorites to visitors, whose once-gray bodies blossom with color. Every life and story ends, and those struggling with their own goodbyes (and yearnings about printed books) may find comfort in seeing the fading elder revert to his younger self in order to be transported by the joyful squadron–just as a little girl arrives to choose Morris’s story. The author’s motivations (explained on the flap) will resonate with adults in the reading business. The best part? Lingering quietly while savoring the atmospheric scenes of Joyce’s narrative vignette."

-SLJ, August 2012

Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide for

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

by William Joyce

Choose the questions and activities that work best with the age and interests of the child or class you are sharing this book with.


Discussion questions
This is a story about books and hopes and about what you see if you take the time to look up.

1. At the beginning of the story, we learn that Morris Lessmore loved words. He loved stories and he loved books. What do you love?

2. After the storm, Morris feels lost and wanders around. Then he looks up and sees the flying lady with her squadron of flying books. Talk about how you see the world when you look down. How do you see the world when you look up?

3. The flying lady sees that Morris is sad and needs a new story so she gives him her favorite book. How can a story help someone feel better? Have you ever felt bad and then heard a story that made you feel better? What kinds of stories and books make you feel better?

4. Do you have any stories or special words that you tell yourself to help you feel better?

5. Every story has its upsets. Have you ever had an upset? Did anyone help you? What did you do to turn the upset around?

6. When Morris entered the building with all the books, he could hear faint chatter and it felt as if the books were asking to be opened and read. It has been said that every book needs a reader to bring it to life. What do you think?

7. Morris had lots of books: comedies, tragedies, encyclopedias. Can you think of other kinds of books he might have had in his library? What kinds of books would you want in your library?

8. What do you think it means to be lost in a book? Have you ever been lost in a book?

9. Why do you think Morris enjoyed sharing his books? Do you ever recommend or suggest books to friends? Talk about your favorite books and why you like them.

10. Things end and things begin again. How does it feel to know that when Morris decided it was time for him to leave, he ended the journey as he began it – being carried lightly away by the books and with a book opening? How does it feel to know that the little girl then began the journey?

11. When you leave, what matters most is what you’ve taken in – the memories, stories, and experiences. What would you like to be inside you?

12. At the end of the book Morris flies off with his favorite books. How can books make you fly?

13. Morris’s life was a book of his own writing. He wrote about his joys and sorrows, all that he knew and everything that he hoped for. What are your hopes?

14. Lessmore is an interesting name. Do you think it has any special meaning? When is less more?

15. This book has a special dedication page. Does reading it give you any new understanding of the story?

16. “If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.” (Barry Lopez, Crow and Weasel) Do you think Morris Lessmore would agree? What do you think?

Activities & Projects

1. The pictures in this book are very beautiful, whimsical and expressive. Try reading the book again just looking at the pictures. Do you notice anything new in pictures or the story that you didn’t see before? How do the pictures help to tell the story?

2. Libraries are a place where people share books. Visit a library. Notice all the different books. Do any of them call out to you to be read? Ask the librarian to recommend some of her favorite books.

3. Start your own library at home and/or in your class. Morris tried to arrange his library, but the books had their own ideas. How would you organize your library? What books would you put next to each other? Make special book plates with your name or the name of your class.

4. Make your own book. You can fold several sheets of paper and staple them together. Put a photo of yourself on the first page. Tell all about you. For different kinds of books and different ways to make them, check out the internet with a parent or teacher. A good place to start is http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/family/book-crafts.htm You can also learn how to make book plates and book jackets.

5. Morris loved words. What are some of your favorite words? Are there any words that make you feel bad? Make a list of words about when you feel happy, sad, brave, or silly.

6. Ask a parent or teacher to help you cut up magazines, newspapers or cereal boxes and create a collage of some of your favorite words.

7. Do a book advertisement. Draw or record or write about a book you like in a way that makes it sound interesting to other people. Create a web page or blog with your favorite titles.

8. Keep a dream book. Write about your hopes and dreams. Decorate the cover and include drawings and photos.

9. Have a party. Make special invitations asking everyone to come dressed as a favorite book character. Play charades or guessing games about the books the characters come from.

10. This book is also an Academy® Award-winning animated short. With a parent or teacher’s help, watch the movie on You.Tube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Adzywe9xeIU Talk about the differences and similarities between the movie version and the book.

11. Find out more about the author, William Joyce and read other books he has written and illustrated. You can begin here: About William Joyce http://authors.simonandschuster.net/William-Joyce/81797654 and for teachers, you can see or read an interview, biography and list of books at Reading Rocket http://www.readingrockets.org/books/interviews/joyce/

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is beautiful! The story is heartwarming. Anyone who loves books will love this one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story really touches your heart. Its how books are supposed to feel. They are suppose to fly and jump around you. This story is worth it but after you are done with the book, look up The Fantastic Flying books of Mr. Morris Lessmore 2011. Its better than the book. Both are amazing!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Accompanied by brilliant illustratiions this story touches anyone who has a love of books. Some stories strike cords in children and adults, this is a wonderful picture book for discussion about why books can be so powerful, entertaining, and important in our lives. Late 2nd grade to early 4th grade is where it might best be used.
Mystryrdr More than 1 year ago
Good story! Enjoyed it!
mrsvaljones More than 1 year ago
Morris Lessmore loved to write in his journal and read his books. Then one day, a storm came destroying his house and his precious books. Wandering alone, Morris was upset and lonely, until one day he sees a woman flying by, surrounded with books. Noticing how sad Morris is without his books, she gives him her favorite, a walking, talking, and flying tale. Back surrounded by the books that he loves and his journal, Morris listens and reads all of their tales. He continues to write in his journal until he is old and grey and his book is finished. With his own story complete, he leaves his friends and his own story behind, for someone new to discover. Delightful and well-illustrated, the love Morris has of books and the great companions they make shines through. Although the writing might be hard to follow for younger readers, the creativity behind the storyline heralds the importance and timelessness of great literature. *The Inspiration for the Academy Award winning short film by the same title. Recommended for readers age 4 -8.
Mnloonsong More than 1 year ago
This is a beautiful book about loving books! I will be using this story in my classroom several times this year. The illustrations are very detailed and humorous.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautiful endearing story.
debnance on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What book lover wouldn¿t love this book? A terrible storm sends Mr. Lessmore off into a new world. There, he becomes the caretaker of an amazing library where the books speak and fly. He begins to write his own book, the story of his life. When he completes it, he is old, but the books change him into a young man and he is sent back into his old world. A young girl comes to take over as caretaker of the library.An enhanced e-book that is certain to charm all its readers.
Kegsoccer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
They say this story is for ages 4 and up, but don't let that keep you from buying it for yourself. As an English major and lover of anything book related, I jumped at the chance to own a copy of this. It's a beautiful story about loving books and how they love you back, as well as the tale of a man's journey to write his own story. I'm thinking about buying a copy for a friend of mine (a fellow English major and soon to be teacher) who just graduated college, as well as a copy for my best friend's young son because the story can be enjoyed by both of them!The video (and storybook app) appeared before the book, so the description "The book that inspired the Academy Award--winning short film" seems a bit inaccurate--unless it is referring to the storybook app, which is possible. Anyways after I saw the video (which is 15 minutes long and easily available to watch for free on youtube--just google "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore"), I knew it would win Best Animated Short Film at the Academy Awards. The video is accompanied by music, but there isn't any dialogue.The book differs from the film in that there is text for the reader to enjoy. Though it is possible to understand the story by just looking at the beautiful illustrations, the text gives that extra boost that the music from the film had been. The book is also faithful to the film's story, and there was only one part of the video that didn't seem to make it into the book (the scene where Morris Lessmore binds up an old book), but it doesn't take away from one's enjoyment of the story. It may be difficult to read without thinking of Hurricane Katrina or other areas devastated by natural disasters as Lessmore's world is turned upside down, or of the movie "The Wizard of Oz" as Lessmore goes from black and white to color. But overall I recommend this book for anyone. I don't think you'll be disappointed.(The hardcover book does come with the pictured gold circle saying "the story that inspired the Academy Award winning short film," but this is a sticker that is meant to be removed, and I easily took it off my book without any residue left behind or damage done to the book.)
bndsr More than 1 year ago
xfgxfg
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
I read this story over and over again and the more I read it, the richer it became. It’s about words, it’s about books, it’s about stories and order and life and ….I could go on but I think everyone who reads it will find their own meaning. Morris loved stories and books, writing his own joys and sorrows down each morning. His hopes and dreams, all written in print as he loved words and order. As life would have it, a storm blew in and upset his world and he finds himself in world like Oz. The illustrations do a superb job with this transformation with the color and the details. A woman floats by in a festival of books and hands him her favorite book, he follows her to the library where he is totally amazed at this building. The room is in dismay as he hears the book calling to him as they float around the room. The books all need assistance and Morris tries to help them. He gets wrapped up inside their pages, those wonderful stories captive him so Morris decides to share the stories with the people of the town. It’s a wonderful tale of Morris and his life; it’s a book you just want to share with everyone. The illustrations fit perfectly with the book and the script is written on a tan paper which I thought added to the warmth of the story. "“Everyone’s story matters,” said Morris. And all the books agreed."
YoungMensanBookParade More than 1 year ago
Review by Young Mensan Aubrey L, Age 6, Greater New York Mensa Everyone will love this book!! This book is about a man or teenage boy who really loves his books. It says that every book has its upsets, and I think it does. The book is saying that every book is special and that you can write your own book and that’s what books are. The man got upset when his book got blown around and everything he knew got scattered. He walked and walked and looked up instead of down and saw this lady and the book that the lady gave him showed him to a library. He took care of the books and when he got older the books took care of him. When he got older he left the library. When he goes out he forgets his book but he meant to because he wants somebody to find out about it. Then the books saw a girl in the doorway. She looked at all the books and Morris’ book and she read it and that’s how the story ends as it began. My favorite parts of this book are when he sees the lady drifting through the sky with a bunch of books, and the end it starts over again because you can get another book and know about it.
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
This was a good and cute read. Kind of sweet in a way. The pictures are the best part as the story. But with the pictures, take your time with those. Its drawn really good. Pretty good read. I wanted to read this because well, it had to do with books and because of the title.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVE THIS BOOK-IT WAS FUNNY, PLAYFUL AND SPARKED MY IMAGINATION. THE PICTURES ARE GREAT. I ALSO LIKE THE IDEA THAT WE BECOME THE BOOKS WE READ. BOOKS CAN TOUCH PEOPLES LIVES IN WAYS THAT NOTHING ELSE CAN. I ALSO LOVE THAT ON MY NOOK I HAVE A CHOICE OF HOW TO ENJOY THIS BOOK; I CAN JUST READ IT MYSELF,THE BOOK CAN READ TO ME'AND I CAN RECORD MY VOICE READING THIS BOOK AND SAVE THE RECORDING TO PLAY BACK LATER. A MUST READ!
The_Book_Rack More than 1 year ago
Enjoyable read to accompany the great short film! 5 Stars!
duffyholder More than 1 year ago
I cried through most of this book. From my earliest recollection, sitting on my father's lap while he read The Saturday Evening Post and I could pick out words I recognized, until today I still find magic in reading. When I was a child if my mother couldn't find me by hollering out the front door, she invariably called the library and Miss Harding would say, "She's here sitting on the floor, reading."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hah! MORrIS LESSmore! Don't you get it! Haha! This author is totally awesomely creative! His name sounds like more is less! With a more at the end but thats not that important. Cute book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fantastic book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My almost 10 year old very much enjoyed it, has read it a few times, its not too lengthy, but enough to read in an evening before bed. From a parents perspective, pages are great, illustrated well, and its an APPRORIATE book, unlike many where the choice of language or slang is questionable! Can't go wrong with this one, wouls also make a great gift.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The expression of love for words ... and books by Mr. Morris Lessmore was heartfelt and touch my life personally. After the loss of many of our beloved books and most everything in our life in the Nashville flood of 2010, it reminded me of the great opportunity we have to move into new avenues and adventures, after loss.
BCWinLouisiana More than 1 year ago
This a beautiful book to be shared by the whole family. William Joyce is a creative genius and inspiration to readers of all ages. Life does go on even in seemingly unbearable circumstances, if we have the heart and imagination to live it.
jaj1 More than 1 year ago
Stunning. (At least the film was!)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is awesome to lond and enjoy books. I believe the the age recommendation is a bit off. During the summer of 2012 this book was on my son's Kindergarten summer reading list. Other parents and I found this book to be painfully boring for the kids. My eight year old niece was not fan either. Personally, I thought the story was fairly good, but I am not the intended audience. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got a sample of this book and I loved it! I just wish my mom would buy it for me!