The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

William Joyce, Author, Joe Blum, Author, William Joyce, Illustrator, Joe Bluhm, Illustrator
William Joyce. S&S/Atheneum, $17.99 (56p) ISBN 978-1-4424-5702-7
Paperback - 978-1-4424-4859-9
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 56 pages - 978-1-4424-6489-6
Hardcover - 56 pages - 978-7-5414-5701-2
Paperback - 978-1-4424-5517-7
Paperback - 51 pages - 978-0-85707-944-2
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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)
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