The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore



Magical story of a man who devotes his life to books.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids see a vast, magical library that may remind them of their own city and school libraries. And the story poetically conveys the power of books to change lives, and the need to care for and sometimes repair books. 

Positive messages

Books can lift your mood and change your life. You can even see them as your friends. Books are meant to be shared, and sharing books is a joy. 

Positive role models

Morris Lessmore is lonely until books become his friends. Then he generously shares his books with others, and cares for the books he has. 

Violence & scariness

A big storm turns Morris Lessmore's house upside down. Morris comes to the end of his life when he writes the last words in his book and transforms from faded old man back to vibrant young man and is carried up into the sky by a flock of books. 

Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is the picture-book version of the same William Joyce story told in the popular app and short animated film of the same name that won an Academy Award in 2012. Morris' house is destroyed in a big storm, which may be a little disturbing for very young readers. Morris' death is presented gently, as he writes the last words of his story and then transforms from faded old man back to the vibrant young man of the beginning of the story and is carried up into the sky by a flock of books. This may take a little explaining. 

Kids say

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What's the story?

Morris Lessmore loves books and is writing the story of his own life. But a big storm comes and turns his house upside down and scatters everything he knows, including the words of his book. Then he sees a lady be carried by a flock of flying books, and she sends him her favorite book, which becomes Morris' friend. The book (which has legs!) leads him to a big library, where he reads and cares for the thousands of books, all eager to be read. He shares the books with others and grows old, until he writes the last page of the book of his life -- a book that, after he's gone (carried into the sky by a flock of books), opens itself to a young person, just as a book had opened itself to Morris and changed his life.

Is it any good?


The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is a magical fable that made a delightful, wordless, Oscar-winning animated short film. But with text, it's even easier to grasp and fun to read over and over to catch all its nuances and dimensions. The art and story are gently surreal -- Morris sometimes falls into books and is lost for days, for example -- and fantastical, with books that walk, talk, fly, and love to be read, and a protagonist whose life is complete just reading and caring for books. It's odd and offbeat enough to avoid being sappy, too. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the the compelling nature of books you can hold in your hand. Do you prefer reading stories on paper pages or in an app, online, or on an ereader? What's the difference in the experience of each? 

  • Morris Lessmore takes good care of his books. Who else do you know who takes care of books as their job? How do you take care of books at home? 

  • Have you ever thought of writing a book of your own story -- recounting your joys and sorrows and all that you hope for, like the book Morris Lessmore writes?

Book details

Author:William Joyce
Illustrator:Joe Bluhm
Genre:Picture Book
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Book characters, Great boy role models, Misfits and underdogs, Numbers and letters
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:June 19, 2012
Number of pages:56
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 17
Read aloud:4 - 8
Read alone:5 - 17

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  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent Written byCarolineSL September 7, 2012

A must-add for your child's library!

This is a beautiful book that tells an amazing story centered around the love of books. The characters are simple enough for small children but complex enough to make adults shed a tear and the story is beautiful and reinforces the importance and joy of reading. I recommend the book, the iPad app and the short film (15 min). All favorites in our house!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models


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