Book review – The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore


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The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore by W.E. Joyce,  is one of my absolute favourite picture story books. The first time I read it I cried like a baby!

Mr Morris Lessmore loves books and he loves words and everyday he writes his own book, full of all his innermost thoughts. Life, however, can be tough and Mr Morris Lessmore is a bit down on his luck; until, that is, he is directed towards a library full of books and words and stories. Here he is happy, surrounded by what he loves most. Time goes by and Mr Morris Lessmore lives peacefully among the books, but all good things must come to an end…
I do not wish to give away the full story, so I won’t say any more about the plot.

Why I love it
The story is a metaphor for life and, although this is a children’s book, the themes are deep and thought-provoking. I can totally relate to Mr. Morris Lessmore’s feelings about books and the story opens up discussion about a range of topics. It will have you thinking long after you have finished reading.

Themes to discuss with your child
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore deals with several themes. Although the themes themselves may seem a bit mature for young children, they are covered in a gentle way. The story touches on:

  • Depression or anxiety during difficult times
  • Aging
  • Life and death – including the circle of life
  • The power of words
  • Finding peace and happiness

Questions to ask your child

Before reading:

  • What do you think this book might be about?
  • Do you think this is a fiction book (a story) or a non-fiction book (facts)?
  • What do you think would be a good word to describe Mr. Morris Lessmore?

After reading:

  • Why do you think some parts of pictures are in black and white and some are in colour?
  • How do you think Mr. Morris Lessmore was feeling at the beginning of the story when his words were scattered?
  • Now that you have read the whole story, what do you think was happening to the lovely lady he saw drifting through the sky?
  • Mr Morris Lessmore ‘got lost in books and scarcely emerged for days’. What do you think this means?
  • What is something you can ‘get lost in’?
  • When he is flying through the sky, why do you think Mr Morris Lessmore changed back to the way he had been?
  • Why do you think the story ends the way it does, with a small girl reading Mr. Morris Lessmore’s story?
  • What is your favourite story?

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