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

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 405 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

* "If you loved the Oscar-winning film that goes by the same title, you will take to heart the book on which it is based. William Joyce exploits each medium to the fullest.

Morris Lessmore's life 'was a book of his own writing, one orderly page after another.' This serene opening scene shatters when a twister carries Morris away and sets him down in a black-and-white terrain. A woman appears in vibrant color in the sky, pulled by 'a festive squadron of flying books.' She sends down a volume with Humpty Dumpty featured in its pages, and the fellow leads Morris to a large building where light shines through the windows and shelves of books flutter their pages, 'as if each book were asking to be opened.'

In Joyce's artwork, the books come to life as a full cast of characters. After Morris repairs a damaged book, he reads it to revive it. He runs across the tops of capital letters and dangles from the hook of a J. 'All stories matter,'" he concludes. As Morris distributes books to his queued-up neighbors, they turn from black-and-white sketches to full-color portraits. In the most moving scene, the books surround the now white-haired man: 'Morris Lessmore became stooped and crinkly. But the books never changed. Their stories stayed the same,'" and they care for him as he has cared for them.

Morris stands in for all book lovers, and reminds us of the way stories live on only when we share them."

-- Shelf Awareness, starred review

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.
Joyce, William (Author) , Joyce, William (Illustrator), Bluhm, Joe (Illustrator)
Jul 2012. 56 p. Atheneum, hardcover, $17.99. (9781442457027).

First it was an Academy Award–winning animated short. Then it was an intuitively interactive iPad story
app. And now it’s a regular old book, which is fitting given that the story is all about the lasting power of
books to transport and nourish the soul. Our hero is a bibliophile modeled after legendary children’sliterature advocate William Morris (in spirit) and Buster Keaton (in looks), whose gray-colored world iscolorized when he sees a woman fly past, pulled by “a festive squadron of flying books.” One such book leads him to take custodianship of a house full of rambunctious stories. As the years pass, he writes one of his own, which in turn inspires a young girl after he is gone. The message-heavy narrative is lifted by Joyce’s superb artwork, presenting nostalgic, picket-fence scenes with a modeled, dimensional feel built on the animation but given a lustrous polish for the printed page. Perhaps most fascinating, the movie, app, and book taken together present an entirely kid-friendly opportunity to talk about the interplay between content and format.

HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The movie and app iterations of this work have attracted gobs of
acclaim and attention for the book to capitalize on.

— Booklist
, July 1, 2012

Starred Review

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore


by William Joyce



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If you loved the Oscar-winning film that goes by the same title, you will take to heart the book on which it is based. William Joyce exploits each medium to the fullest.

Morris Lessmore's life "was a book of his own writing, one orderly page after another." This serene opening scene shatters when a twister carries Morris away and sets him down in a black-and-white terrain. A woman appears in vibrant color in the sky, pulled by "a festive squadron of flying books." She sends down a volume with Humpty Dumpty featured in its pages, and the fellow leads Morris to a large building where light shines through the windows and shelves of books flutter their pages, "as if each book were asking to be opened."

In Joyce's artwork, the books come to life as a full cast of characters. After Morris repairs a damaged book, he reads it to revive it. He runs across the tops of capital letters and dangles from the hook of a J. "All stories matter," he concludes. As Morris distributes books to his queued-up neighbors, they turn from black-and-white sketches to full-color portraits. In the most moving scene, the books surround the now white-haired man: "Morris Lessmore became stooped and crinkly. But the books never changed. Their stories stayed the same," and they care for him as he has cared for them.

Morris stands in for all book lovers, and reminds us of the way stories live on only when we share them. --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness

Discover: The love story of Morris Lessmore and his books, which inspired the Oscar-winning animated short of the same name.
--Shelf Awareness, June 22, 2012, *STAR

JOYCE, William. The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. illus. by author. 56p. S & S/Atheneum. 2012. ebook $12.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-6489-6; Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-1-4424-5702-7. Pre-Gr 3–Joyce’s Academy Award-winning animated short-film-turned-app that celebrates those who care about (and receive nourishment from) books is, ironically, now a picture book. The wonder and mystery inherent in the wordless film and the ability to manipulate the visuals and play the soundtrack on the app’s piano beg the question: Can the book compete? As it turns out, the book has its own rewards. Clarity comes from Joyce’s well-chosen words. In the opening on a New Orleans balcony, readers learn that Morris “loved words…stories…books.” Every day he would “write of his joys and sorrows, of all that he knew and everything that he hoped for.” When an Oz-like storm turns everything topsy-turvy, the melancholy man in the pork-pie hat spots a lady held aloft by a “festive squadron of flying books.” Her gift leads Morris to a book-filled sanctuary set in a landscape staged and lit like a Maxfield Parrish painting. He tends to the volumes, distributing favorites to visitors, whose once-gray bodies blossom with color. Every life and story ends, and those struggling with their own goodbyes (and yearnings about printed books) may find comfort in seeing the fading elder revert to his younger self in order to be transported by the joyful squadron–just as a little girl arrives to choose Morris’s story. The author’s motivations (explained on the flap) will resonate with adults in the reading business. The best part? Lingering quietly while savoring the atmospheric scenes of Joyce’s narrative vignette.

-SLJ, August 2012

"Joyce’s Academy Award-winning animated short-film-turned-app that celebrates those who care about (and receive nourishment from) books is, ironically, now a picture book. The wonder and mystery inherent in the wordless film and the ability to manipulate the visuals and play the soundtrack on the app’s piano beg the question: Can the book compete? As it turns out, the book has its own rewards. Clarity comes from Joyce’s well-chosen words. In the opening on a New Orleans balcony, readers learn that Morris “loved words…stories…books.” Every day he would “write of his joys and sorrows, of all that he knew and everything that he hoped for.” When an Oz-like storm turns everything topsy-turvy, the melancholy man in the pork-pie hat spots a lady held aloft by a “festive squadron of flying books.” Her gift leads Morris to a book-filled sanctuary set in a landscape staged and lit like a Maxfield Parrish painting. He tends to the volumes, distributing favorites to visitors, whose once-gray bodies blossom with color. Every life and story ends, and those struggling with their own goodbyes (and yearnings about printed books) may find comfort in seeing the fading elder revert to his younger self in order to be transported by the joyful squadron–just as a little girl arrives to choose Morris’s story. The author’s motivations (explained on the flap) will resonate with adults in the reading business. The best part? Lingering quietly while savoring the atmospheric scenes of Joyce’s narrative vignette."

-SLJ, August 2012

THE FANTASTIC FLYING BOOKS OF MR. MORRIS LESSMORE [STARRED REVIEW!]
Author: Joyce, William
Illustrator: Joyce, William

Review Issue Date: May 15, 2012
Online Publish Date: April 25, 2012
Publisher:Atheneum
Pages: 56
Price (Hardcover ): $17.99
Price (e-book ): $12.99
Publication Date: June 12, 2012
ISBN (Hardcover ): 978-1-4424-5702-7
ISBN (e-book ): 978-1-4424-6489-6
Category: Picture Books

Ironically, this book in praise of books first appeared as a much-praised iPad app and Academy Award–winning animated short film.
The story, in a nutshell, concerns the titular book-loving Mr. Morris Lessmore, whose personal library is blown away in a terrible wind but who finds meaning caring for the books he finds in a marvelous library. Filled with both literary (Shakespeare, Humpty-Dumpty) and film references (The Wizard of Oz, The Red Balloon and Buster Keaton), the picture book version of Joyce's story has a quiet contemplative charm that demonstrates the continuing allure of the printed page. Paradoxically, the animated books of the film and app are captured as though in a series of frozen frames. The motif of the bound, printed book is everywhere. Even the furnishings and architectural details of the old-fashioned library in which the books “nest” like flying birds recall the codex. The unifying metaphor of life as story is a powerful one, as is the theme of the transformative power of books. The emphasis on connecting readers and books and the care of books pays homage to librarianship. Rich in allusions (“Less is More”) and brilliant in depicting the passage of time (images conflate times of day, seasons and years), Joyce’s work will inspire contemplation of the power of the book in its many forms.
As triumphant in book form as in animated and interactive ones. (Picture book. 5-10)
Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2012, *STAR

* "Ironically, this book in praise of books first appeared as a much-praised iPad app and Academy Award–winning animated short film.
The story, in a nutshell, concerns the titular book-loving Mr. Morris Lessmore, whose personal library is blown away in a terrible wind but who finds meaning caring for the books he finds in a marvelous library. Filled with both literary (Shakespeare, Humpty-Dumpty) and film references (The Wizard of Oz, The Red Balloon and Buster Keaton), the picture book version of Joyce's story has a quiet contemplative charm that demonstrates the continuing allure of the printed page. Paradoxically, the animated books of the film and app are captured as though in a series of frozen frames. The motif of the bound, printed book is everywhere. Even the furnishings and architectural details of the old-fashioned library in which the books “nest” like flying birds recall the codex. The unifying metaphor of life as story is a powerful one, as is the theme of the transformative power of books. The emphasis on connecting readers and books and the care of books pays homage to librarianship. Rich in allusions (“Less is More”) and brilliant in depicting the passage of time (images conflate times of day, seasons and years), Joyce’s work will inspire contemplation of the power of the book in its many forms.
As triumphant in book form as in animated and interactive ones."
--Kirkus Reviews, starred review

  "Joyce’s magnificently illustrated book-about-books inspired—yet arrives after—his 2011 animated short film of the same name, which won an Oscar. The unusual sequence of film-to-book (there’s an app, too) suggests that while books are indeed glorious things, what really matters is story. This one follows a dreamy bibliophile named Morris Lessmore, who loses his cherished book collection to a cataclysmic storm that’s half Katrina (Joyce is from Louisiana) and half Wizard of Oz. After meeting a “lovely lady... being pulled along by a festive squadron of flying books,” Morris finds an abandoned library whose books are alive and whose covers beat like the wings of birds. They flutter around him protectively, watch as he starts writing again, and care for him as he ages: “They read themselves to him each night.” Underneath this book-about-books, there’s a deeper story of love, loss, and healing, one that will be appreciated as much (if not more) by adults as by children."
--Publishers Weekly

The Fantastic Flying Books
of Mr. Morris Lessmore


William Joyce. S&S/Atheneum, $17.99 (56p) ISBN 978-1-4424-5702-7
As e-books put pressure on the printed word, picture books that romanticize books proliferate (The Lonely Book, It’s a Book, and Dog Loves Books come to mind). Joyce’s magnificently illustrated book-about-books inspired—yet arrives after—his 2011 animated short film of the same name, which won an Oscar. The unusual sequence of film-to-book (there’s an app, too) suggests that while books are indeed glorious things, what really matters is story. This one follows a dreamy bibliophile named Morris Lessmore, who loses his cherished book collection to a cataclysmic storm that’s half Katrina (Joyce is from Louisiana) and half Wizard of Oz. After meeting a “lovely lady... being pulled along by a festive squadron of flying books,” Morris finds an abandoned library whose books are alive and whose covers beat like the wings of birds. They flutter around him protectively, watch as he starts writing again, and care for him as he ages: “They read themselves to him each night.” Underneath this book-about-books, there’s a deeper story of love, loss, and healing, one that will be appreciated as much (if not more) by adults as by children. Ages 4–8. (June)

--Publishers Weekly, May 7, 2012

"The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore" (Atheneum, 56 pages, $17.99) has the same visual wit and beauty as its animated companion but none of its nimble lightness. We meet Morris Lessmore on a balcony in pre-Katrina New Orleans, where he sits amid stacks of books writing in his journal. Then comes a wind so mighty that it blows the very words off the pages. Morris comes to his senses some time later, still with his diary, in a ruined and colorless landscape.

Wandering along, he looks up and sees, in sudden full color, "a lovely lady . . . being pulled along by a festive squadron of flying books." Who is she? Who knows? The book never tells us (though the movie does). "The flying lady knew Morris simply needed a good story, so she sent her favorite. The book was an amiable fellow and urged Morris to follow him." This leaden prose weighs down the funny, vivid images of a book with legs like a bird that flaps off, leading Morris to the lovely old library that will become his new home.

--Wall Street Journal, June 16, 2012

Review

* "Ironically, this book in praise of books first appeared as a much-praised iPad app and Academy Award–winning animated short film.

The story, in a nutshell, concerns the titular book-loving Mr. Morris Lessmore, whose personal library is blown away in a terrible wind but who finds meaning caring for the books he finds in a marvelous library. Filled with both literary (Shakespeare, Humpty-Dumpty) and film references (The Wizard of Oz, The Red Balloon and Buster Keaton), the picture book version of Joyce's story has a quiet contemplative charm that demonstrates the continuing allure of the printed page. Paradoxically, the animated books of the film and app are captured as though in a series of frozen frames. The motif of the bound, printed book is everywhere. Even the furnishings and architectural details of the old-fashioned library in which the books “nest” like flying birds recall the codex. The unifying metaphor of life as story is a powerful one, as is the theme of the transformative power of books. The emphasis on connecting readers and books and the care of books pays homage to librarianship. Rich in allusions (“Less is More”) and brilliant in depicting the passage of time (images conflate times of day, seasons and years), Joyce’s work will inspire contemplation of the power of the book in its many forms.

As triumphant in book form as in animated and interactive ones."

--Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Joyce’s magnificently illustrated book-about-books inspired—yet arrives after—his 2011 animated short film of the same name, which won an Oscar. The unusual sequence of film-to-book (there’s an app, too) suggests that while books are indeed glorious things, what really matters is story. This one follows a dreamy bibliophile named Morris Lessmore, who loses his cherished book collection to a cataclysmic storm that’s half Katrina (Joyce is from Louisiana) and half Wizard of Oz. After meeting a “lovely lady... being pulled along by a festive squadron of flying books,” Morris finds an abandoned library whose books are alive and whose covers beat like the wings of birds. They flutter around him protectively, watch as he starts writing again, and care for him as he ages: “They read themselves to him each night.” Underneath this book-about-books, there’s a deeper story of love, loss, and healing, one that will be appreciated as much (if not more) by adults as by children."

--Publishers Weekly


Product details

  • File Size: 10322 KB
  • Print Length: 56 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (June 19, 2012)
  • Publication Date: June 19, 2012
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007IKGGAI
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #498,111 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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