The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris LessmoreMorris Lessmore is a man who loves words and stories, so much so that he surrounds himself with books. One day, he is swept away to a distant land when a terrible storm strikes. Adults may see reference to The Wizard of Oz or Hurricane Katrina, but children just follow Morris into a magical land of stories.
by William Joyce
NY: Simon and Schuster, 2012
“Then a happy bit of happenstance came his way. Rather than looking down, as had become his habit, Morris Lessmore looked up. Drifting through the sky above him, Morris saw a lovely lady. She was being pulled along by a festive squadron of flying books.”The young woman sends him a story that leads him to a stately old home where books from years gone by apparently ‘nested.’ Morris explores this wonderful place, discovering his true home among the books and stories, each “whispering an invitation to adventure.
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is currently number one on the New York Times Bestselling Children's Picture Books list - hooray! I'm so very glad it's reaching a wide audience.
I was honored last month to listen to William Joyce talk about his inspiration for this story. Listen to the speech he gave to gathered librarians and admirers at the Simon and Schuster party at the American Library Association, in June 2012. First, you'll hear Justin Chanda, his editor and the publisher of Books for Young Readers at Simon & Schuster, introduce Bill. And then listen to Bill describe the story behind Mr. Morris Lessmore.
Bill Joyce tells us that he originally wrote the story for The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore in 1999, when he was visiting his friend and mentor, William Morris. And yet ten years later, after many hard years and too many losses, when he was getting Moonbot Studios off the ground, he came back to this story. Morris stands for everything he wanted Moonbot Studios to be about: the way stories can inspire us, feed our imagination and lift our souls.
If you'd like, you can also listen to my interview with Bill. I was so honored to be able to sit down with him and talk about the way new technologies like the iPad can be used to share stories with children.
Thank you to Bill Joyce, for sharing these stories with us and for taking the time to talk with me. Thank you to Simon and Schuster for arranging the interview. This interview was first shared on Katie Davis's fantastic podcast, Brain Burps About Books.
The review copy was kindly sent by the publisher, Simon & Schuster. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.
Review ©2012 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books
Speech ©2012 William Joyce