Cinematic Saturday: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce, Joe Bluhm

Today we have a short film made into a Children's book! Yes, this one was actually on screen FIRST. Come enter into the colorful world of Mr. Morris Lessmore.

Title: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
Author: William Joyce
Publication Date: June 19th, 2012
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Genre: Children's
Pages: 52
Source: B&N
Awards: Academy Award Winner 2012
Comstock Read Aloud Book 2013

Synopsis (from Goodreads): 
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. 


Award-winning author and filmmaker William Joyce is working on a new series of picture books and chapter books. In "The Guardians of Childhood," readers learn the "formative stories of childhood legends," Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing announced Monday.

The first two books come out in the fall.

Joyce has created characters for "Toy Story" and other films and also is known for such books as "George Shrinks" and "Santa Calls." He is co-directing "Rise of the Guardians," based on his new series and scheduled to be released by DreamWorks Animation in 2012.

Author: WebsiteFacebook 
Book: Website | Facebook | Twitter
With all pun intended, this book is fantastic! From the sophisticated illustrations to the heartwarming narrative, William Joyce captures readers in a simple allegory of the relationship between humans and books. The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore was originally a short film inspired by the devastating events of Hurricane Katrina. We see this at the very beginning where a whirlwind sweeps the entire city and leaves it in ruins. Everything is in black and white.

The main character, Mr. Morris Lessmore, stumbles upon what seems to be the most lively private library to ever exist. As he becomes acquainted with the books that "dwell" here, his color returns and the books seem to give back to him what was once lost. Slowly, people happen upon the little library, and Mr. Lessmore shares the treasure he's discovered. They, too, regain their color and vibrancy. 

There is no dialogue, only narrative, but it isn't necessary. Joyce does a superb job of using implication and symbolism to communicate his story. I loved how the despair and gloom was counteracted with hope and enthusiasm. He also beautifully depicted a "circle of life"  and purpose for the characters. It was a sweet story, and I plan on keeping it in my repertoire.

 Joyce incorporates old fashion styled illustrations that are easy on the eyes and still allow readers, namely children, a focal point. Although he included much detail, it was not cluttered or confusing. The text was easy to read and distractions were very minimal.

If you get the chance, pick up this book! I would also encourage you to watch the short film, and there is now an interactive app to coincide along with the book. Here are the trailers for both:

Short Film Trailer

App Trailer

Download the app HERE.

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