A New Children's Classic?
November 19, 2012
Have you ever seen a book cover and know that you have to read it? Recently, a children’s book that is so visually appealing called to me, and it was love at first sight. The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is my new favorite picture book. Not since the Caldecott Award winning The Invention of Hugo Cabret have I been so smitten with the visual effects of a book. I expect The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore to be nominated for the Caldecott Medal in 2013, and I predict that this exquisitely illustrated story will become a classic among librarians.
The story, which praises books, was first an Academy Award winning short film written by William Joyce, an ex-Pixar designer. The film version had a musical soundtrack, but was without words. After winning the Oscar, Joyce created an interactive iPad app of his story, complete with text. Next, he used his talents to bring Mr. Morris Lessmore’s love of books to print. William Joyce, in collaboration with first time picture book illustrator Joe Bluhm, has created a visually stunning fantasy that combines elements of Hurricane Katrina, The Wizard of Oz, Buster Keaton, and a love of books altogether in one beautiful tale.
This is a must read for bibliophiles. Morris Lessmore loves words, stories, and books. "His life was a book of his own writing, one orderly page after another," but his world is upended when a windstorm scatters everything he knows and loves. Morris begins to wander aimlessly, until "a happy bit of happenstance came his way." A lovely lady who notices Morris is in need of a good story gives him one of her favorite flying books, which leads him to the place where books "nest." Morris becomes a welcome member of the family and cares for the books.
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore depicts the love of books better than any picture book I have experienced. The detail and use of color to evoke emotion from the reader is masterful. I especially liked the incorporation of dust motes in some pages to show the aging of Mr. Morris Lessmore and his beloved books. The story is touching and will bring a tear to the eye of book lovers.
North Oak Branch