Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore

It started as an Academy Award winning short film, then morphed into an app and then, finally, the story that glorifies the beauty of books and the journeys they can take you on is a book.  Morris Lessmore loved words, stories, and books, and he spends every morning writing about his life in a book of his own writing. Suddenly he finds himself in the middle of a black and white, Wizard of Oz-like storm, and suddenly everything that Morris had ever known was scattered to the wind – even the words of his book.

If you’ve seen the movie or played with the app, you already find the characters in this story charming. If not, don’t worry, because the book does not disappoint in terms of providing brilliant illustrations and a story to remember. Written by William Joyce, author of such wonderful books as Dinosaur Bob, George Shrinks, and the Guardians series, this picture book takes us on a journey to a grand place where each book seems to be “whispering an invitation to adventure.” Some of us would call that the public library, but I will admit that the books don’t actually speak to people coming in like they do in this story.

Probably one of the most personal stories of Joyce’s career, the story first began as a tribute to the late Bill Morris who worked with Harper Collins’ library promotions. But then hurricane Katrina hit and Joyce found himself in his own version of an Oz-like storm. One can only imagine that the storm caused Joyce to feel like his own world had been turned upside down as he visited shelters and read stories to the children who had lost their homes. And, of course, he began to see firsthand how stories really can take you away from even the worst of tragedies if only for a few minutes. If you enjoy Morris Lessmore, I guarantee that you will enjoy many more William Joyce creations. 

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