Module 1: The fantastic flying books of Mr. Morris Lessmore


Book Summary:

Mr. Morris lives to read the books of his personal library and pen the story of his life. Books are his greatest joy until one day all of his books, including the one he is writing, are destroyed in a terrible storm. Lost without his book to preoccupy him, Mr. Morris lives a life without color as he wanders around in search of meaning. But one day he discovers a library and suddenly his life is colorful again. The library and its books are in need of someone to care for them, and as Mr. Morris is introduced to the various worlds in the books on the shelves he again find purpose in life. He carefully acts as doctor to the hurt and broken books, introduces dreary-looking visitors to books that color their lives, and spends his life finding meaning among the bookshelves.

APA Reference of Book:

Joyce, W., & Bluhm, J. (2012). The fantastic flying books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. New York, NY: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.


The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore feels like a classic children’s book even thought it is barely a year old. I was very impressed by this book. The story was lovely, and while it is said to be for children ages 4-8 I would feel no shame in recommending it to adults as well. The beautifully illustrated images, much like the story, will stick with you long after you close the book. As an avid reader myself, I find Joyce’s story amazing because it accurately illustrates the way I feel about books. This book about books shows how they can bring color to a dull life, and fully captures the excitement of a book lover to be around stories. I recommend this book for anyone who likes to read or wants to like to read. If you’ve ever felt giddy entering a library or a bookstore, this book is for you. Every child needs this book to introduce them into the world of reading. Trust me, they will love it!

Professional 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

(2012, May 07) [Review of the book The fantastic flying books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, by W. Joyce]. Publishers Weekly. Retrieved from:

Library Uses:

I think that this book would lend itself beautifully for an activity in the library. I would suggest reading the book and then having the children create a book about themselves the way Mr. Morris kept the book of his life. I would have the children create a paper book just a few pages long, have them title it, glue or draw a picture of themselves on the cover, and then detail information such as their favorite book, food, movie, school subject, etc.


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