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


I saw this book earlier this summer at Hastings Book Store in Richmond, IN, and instantly grabbed it up. In fact, I had to pick only ONE of Mo Willems’ Pigeon books to buy as well, instead of two, because I refused to put this one down. It was just too beautiful and written by one of my favorite children’s authors to boot.

Mr. Morris Lessmore is a man whose life revolves around books – the collecting of them, the reading of them, and the writing of his own book, which he adds to daily. One day, though a massive storm rips its way into his life, scattering his town, his house, and (gasp!) his books. Poor Morris then sets out into the world, with his own book and one other survivor at his side, walking upright on stout little legs with its pages open to a smiling picture of our dear old friend Humpty Dumpty.

Lost an unsure, Morris walks on until he is met by a beautiful spectacle, a woman being born aloft by a flock of books. Hmm, what would we call that exactly? Geese are a gaggle, crows are a murder, sheep are a flock, cats are a clowder, Cardinals are a cascade (or so “The Borgias” tells me)…but what lovely alliterative nuance can we apply to books? A blockade…a barrage…a barrel…a bank…a batch…a battery…a bevy…a bundle…? Hmm. I think I like “a bank of books”. Since a bank is where you place things of value and books are of INFINITE value. There.

So the lady was being carried along through the air by a flying bank of books and she gives Morris some help. Vague help but help nonetheless. Soon Morris arrives in a WONDERFUL place. A place full of his dearest love: books. And they are all so very happy to see him. In a word: Heaven.

This book gave me more joy in the 10 minutes it took me to read it than any amount sense I can hope to make in trying to explain it. It is beautifully written and illustrated and I believe Joyce to be well-awarded with the transference of this beauty from a book into an animated short film as well, its accolades and acclaim well-earned. If you are looking for a lovely little book to remind us of just how beautiful it is to learn a love of reading, run out to your nearest bookstore or library and pick up The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

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