Review Blog

Sep 03 2012

The fantastic flying books of Mr Morris Lessmore by William Joyce and Joe Blumm

cover image

Atheneum Books for Younger Readers, 2012. ISBN 9781442457027.
(Ages: 6+) Highly recommended. Picture book. Books and reading. One boy's life is circumscribed by books, but when his books are swept away he must chase them, for he is lost without his books and their words. When a woman floats overhead and gives him a book, he follows the path the book takes, leading to a house of books, where he spends the rest of his life, writing, immersed in books, repairing books, giving them to others to read, and writing his own story in his book. In this beautifully illustrated book about books and libraries, reading and the sharing of story, the words shine through, as the man remains devoted to words, story and books all of his life, leaving his own story for others to read when he leaves.
The illustrations follow the story beautifully, rendering the first few pages in an almost sepia tone, nodding to time passing as each page is turned. Each page is jammed full of books, there are books in shelves, books on the floor, books on top of cupboards, books in the man's hand, books on a reading mount, and books that open for the man when he is too old to do it himself. Each stunning illustration has more to see than meets the eye, and deserves closer attention, underlying the multiplicity of themes expounded by the tale, and adding a level of humour to an already multi layered story.
A beautiful reiteration of the significance of story in our lives, this book will find a place in all classrooms and libraries, on people's shelves and on display in bookshops, promoting the part story plays in all of our lives. With nods to Hurricane Katrina, Buster Keaton, and the Wizard of Oz, readers will recall many other stories from their own reading as they look at the influences behind this one.
This is the story that inspired the Academy Award winning animated short film (2011) of the same name. There is a lovely trailer on Youtube, and more information on Wikipedia, that deserves watching and reading.
Fran Knight

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