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  • 2013 Comstock Read Aloud Book Award

    The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore written by William Joyce, illustrated by William Joyce and Joe Bluhm, and published by Moonbot Books, an imprint Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2012.

    Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore"Morris Lessmore loved words. He loved stories. He loved books." Morris Lessmore spends his mornings writing of his life's joys and sorrows until one day, a tornado tears apart everything, toppling houses and scattering the words of his life's book. In his aimless wandering, Mr. Morris Lessmore comes across a woman floating by, holding on to a "festive squadron of flying books." One such book leads Morris to the books' nesting place in an old antiquated library. Morris's life among the books begins. He cares for the many books in his possession, sharing the books with others, all the while continuing to write his life's story. When the years passed and the time came for the books to care for the now elderly Morris, he finishes his book. The book is found by a young girl, and our story ends with the opening of Mr. Morris Lessmore's book.

    Joyce and Bluhm's lush multimedia illustrations are reminiscent of Pixar movies. In fact, the story is based on William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg's Academy Award winning animated short film by the same name. Readers and children alike raved about the use of color in this book, as the characters move from black and white to color with the introduction of a good book. The detailed illustrations cemented the message of the story in a subtle way through the use of color. Many commented on the imaginative nature of the book, with its abstract and fantastical storyline. Students wanted more books by the author, and many begged to have the book read again.

    William Joyce is the cofounder of Moonbot Studios, a storytelling and animation collective. Joe Bluhm, who made his picture book debut with this book, also works for Moonbot Studios. They both reside in Shreveport, Louisiana. BRITTANY LAZUR