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71 of 76 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2012
I work in a public library and we recently received this book. I enjoy reading the children's books before we put them out for the public. This book is wonderful! It actually brought tears to my eyes. If you have a love of books then you should read this. It is my new favorite children's book.
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72 of 80 people found the following review helpful
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 (It is 15 minutes long and well worth the watching-- for free on Youtube, or if you want to support the creators and encourage them to create more lovely videos and books, you can purchase it on Itunes for only a few dollars*), 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.)

*Edited 6/2012 to add that the video is available for purchase on Itunes
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on June 29, 2012
When we read this book together, my Grandson looked at me and said, "Gram, this is my new favorite book." The author is to be commended for writing such a wonderful story. I thought it might upset my Grandson but he thought about it in a totally different manner and he taught me something about how interpret a story. Again, kudos to this author. Please write some more books for us. Thank you.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 2012
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is an amazing love story. We see how Morris grows and loves his books all through his life. We also see how much his books care for Morris back. The story and illustrations are witty and whimsical and flow like smooth prose. It's really quite lovely and touching. And if you're a softy like me, you may even have some tears in your eyes at the end. I also like how Morris' life is turned upside down in the beginning and it's his books that bring him back to being grounded. A great story for kids who might need the same grounding. This book transcends itself to reaching out to adults and children alike. That all being said, I would not recommend this to the very young reader/listener. Its story is a bit advanced and does include the full life and passing of Morris himself, but in an indirect way. If you are dealing with death, this would be a good book to include. But I would definitely read it yourself before reading it to a child under the age of 8. My 9 year old daughter loves this book. She is also a lover of books and doesn't get hung up on Morris' life passing, but can appreciate it being a love story about books. Beautiful, beautiful book.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2012
My wife came home from the bookstore yesterday gushing about this book, saying that she began crying when reading it (and she is not usually the one to cry openly; I am). I was somewhat skeptical, but as I read the book I was quickly converted. This is a remarkable achievement, both as regards the writing and the illustrations. Every aspect of the book conveys the magic, mystery and meaning of reading. The eyes of my children were wide with wonder as we read. I will try to read this book to them as many times as I can. I recommend it for adults as well; it captures the love of books and the joy of a life lived with them better than any other book that I have read.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
With artwork reminiscent of Pixar films (especially Up, as well as the early Pixar short, Geri's Game), The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is a brilliant new release showcasing the work of animation ace William Joyce aided by first-time picture book illustrator Joe Bluhm. I was reminded fondly of Lane Smith's Grandpa Green, which I reviewed last year and which was subsequently included on the New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2011 and later won the Caldecott Honor. Both picture books are exquisitely illustrated, and both are emotionally connective. Like Smith, Joyce has fashioned a story not without sadness which nonetheless celebrates life. The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore would be particularly appropriate for children who have lost an older relative, or experienced tragedy of any kind--"every story has its upsets"--but the appeal need not stop there.

Lessmore is a solitary if unlonely lover of words whose life is left in disarray by a storm of Ozian proportions. (The author, a Louisiana native. was inspired by the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina.) Lessmore is saved, both literally and figuratively, by books, and takes refuge, and then solace, in a library. His subsequent career as a conservationist returns the favor, and allows the author to demonstrate that there truly is life in stories. Critically, we see that books wield tremendous curative power, especially in the sharing of books. The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore provides a life cycle worth of remembrances, and there are nice details for subsequent re-reads. The hardcover itself echoes Morris' journal, with the hat-cane-book motif embossed on the cover. Another nice touch sees the colorization of story characters, recalling the classic Goodnight Moon, whose pages gradually decreased in brightness.

[The reviewer was provided with a complimentary copy of the book.]
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2012
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is truly one of the most amazing picture books that I have ever had the joy to read. The story is beautifully written and the illustrations are absolutely incredible. This book should win the Caldecott award for the best in children's illustration.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2012
This was such a great find at Barnes and Noble! I was not looking for picture books, but the cover caught my eye. You can't tell from this picture, but the lettering looks like gold leaf. Gorgeous. As stood in the children's section while my oldest soon looked for a book, I started reading The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore. Instant love.

What does it take to make me go nuts for a children's book? That's pretty simple: a great hidden message between the covers. I knew I had to own this book and use it with my class. (I managed to use it for a prediction lesson.) But what I adored the most about this book is the subtle message about the importance of public libraries. Every book lover should read this book because we can all appreciate our libraries. That wasn't the only jewel hidden on the pages. On a deeper level, the book discusses the power of (individual) stories. I absolutely loved the line "everyone has a story to tell." Sigh.

Not convinced that this book deserves your attention? Fine. Don't take my word for it then. Go check out the author's website to see for yourself. It will blow you away. Oh, and did I mention that since this book is so incredible it has it's own iphone App? Oh yeah.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
I hate the idea that picture books are only for children. They're not. In fact, I think this world would probably be a better place if more people (i.e. adults) spent more time appreciating the imagination and whimsy that can only be found in picture books.

Following the Academy Awards, I watched "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore," which won the Oscar for short animated film, and was deeply moved by it. When I learned it was being adapted as a picture book, I was ecstatic -- I'll take a book over a movie any day. Last week, I found a copy of the book waiting for me on my pillow. It was a gift from my husband, who knows just how much books mean to me.

The story is about Morris Lessmore. He loves words. He loves stories. He loves books. He's even got a red book of his own where he's writing down his own story.

One day, a great windstorm comes flying in and scatters everything in Morris' life. Not knowing what to do or which way to go, Morris begins to wander. Along the way, he sees a lovely lady being pulled through the sky by a squadron of flying books. Seeing Morris is in need of a good story, she passes him one of her favorites.

Morris follows the book to a magnificent building where many books apparently "nest." Inside is a marvelous sight of fluttering books uttering a thousand different stories. Upon this discovery, Morris does the only thing he can do, beginning a life among the books.

The story goes on to describe how Morris becomes a part of the family -- making repairs, getting lost in an adventure, sharing books with others, and once again writing his own book. Years pass, and then comes the day when Morris fills the last page in his own book and decides it's time to move on. He is transformed back into his younger self and flies away with his own squadron of books.

Most reviews of "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore" are positive. However, there is one negative one I'd like to address. On Amazon.com the reviewer says, "Unfortunately, the lesson of this book is apparently that if you spend time reading books, your life will pass you by and before you know it you'll be very old and die." I read that comment and was flabbergasted. My takeaway was quite different.

"Fantastic Flying Books" is about a few things -- the love of books, using your imagination and writing your own story. Books are Morris' greatest of friends. They're there for him when he needs them and vice versa. They also help to ground Morris and give him the stability he needs following a traumatic incident.

It's hard to read too much more into the story -- it's about books that are physically alive after all. Though I really love the whimsy found in the flying books. The illustrations are top notch and I found the text to add a little more depth than the film, which has no dialogue. If you're still not sure about purchasing the book, watch the film, and then decide. I know both will become family favorites in my house.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2012
This was not what I expected -- we are familiar with William Joyce's "Guardians of Childhood" and I thought this would be a good bet. My big kids, who read the "Guardians" novels, were surprised that this is a soothing picture book.

But still, we like it. If your kids liked "The Invention of Hugo Cabret," there are aspects of this book that will certainly appeal to them -- for example, the way the story is carried almost entirely by the illustrations.

Masterful illustrations. We like it. We'd like MORE of it.
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