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

Have you seen this?

This clip is the trailer for the short film The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, which won the Academy Award for short film in 2011. I know about this film (now) because my kids' librarian asked me yesterday if I knew the book by the same title.  I did not, and she (like all good librarians) pressed it into my hands, would not let me leave without it.  She also showed us the amazing app and ebook options, both of which were developed before the book actually came into being.  To my mind, this is an amazing example of literacy and technology, or books and tech, working beautifully together. The book is not made less just because it came last. All these formats celebrate words and books, the relationship we have with them, and even the most basic of human conditions.

Though you can watch the film in its entirety on Youtube (I think), I chose to buy it. It feels important to me, and I want to share it with my family and with my friends, especially those who have ties to LA. The book is not merely a reproduction of the film in print form, and it, too, is worth owning. I especially love the jacket explanation of how this project evolved:
William Joyce has been working on The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore since 1999. The story began as a tribute to the late Bill Morris, the soft-spoken, dry-witted pioneer of library promotions. Then hurricane Katrina devastated Mr. Joyce's home state and interrupted progress on the book. The author saw firsthand the curative power of stories as he visited displaced children reading donated books in shelters. And so Morris Lessmore evolved. Unable to paint for long periods of time because of eye surgeries, finishing the book too many paths - an Academy Award-winning animated short film, a groundbreaking story app, and now, at last, the book. It is the most personal story of Joyce's career.
"The curative power of stories." I couldn't agree more. Also in the category of things I agree with? This page from the book itself:
 Don't you?


  1. Yes!!! I just picked up this book a few weeks ago for one day (who am I kidding...it's more for me than the babe) and then learned at book club about the app. So much fun.

    I hope you and your family had a beautiful holiday Sara!

    1. We really did, Trish! None of us were ready to go back to school/work yesterday. You should definitely watch the film if you haven't already. It is a treasure.

  2. I just found the quote that this book/film had been reminding me of. It's from George Eliot's "The Spanish Gypsy": "Our words have wings, but fly not where we would." LOVE.

  3. We read this book a couple months ago and enjoyed it. I didn't know about the film! And just last week we checked out William Joyce's picture books about the man in the moon and the sandman. They're great!