This is the story that became an Academy Award-Winning Best Animated Short Film by the same name, produced by William Joyce himself along with Brandon Oldenburg as Co-Director (and a Creative Partner @ Moonbot Studios with Mr. Joyce).
He loved stories.
He loved books.”
And so the story begins. Mr. Lessmore’s life was orderly until a day the winds blew and scattered everything, even the very words of his books. He finds himself uprooted for a time, yet eventually is led to a home (well…sort of a home) to live in for the rest of his life…a deserted library. Morris is surrounded by books with bouncy legs and other books that flutter like birds. He interacts with them, reads them, and repairs them, making for an ideal retirement life for Morris Lessmore. The books read to him at night and care for him as he ages.
The story behind the story begins with a tribute to the late Bill Morris, “the soft-spoken, dry-witted pioneer of library promotions.” William Joyce’s home state, Louisiana, was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Through the recovery, Mr. Joyce saw, firsthand, the curative power of stories as he visited displaced children in shelters who were reading or being read to from the donated books. Three other equally significant inspirations for this book were Buster Keaton, The Wizard of Oz, and Mr. Joyce’s love of books.
This story is so wonderfully unique as is the artwork of William Joyce and Joe Bluhm. As Morris gives books to gray tone people, they soon are seen leaving in technicolor. The power of a story, the love of books, the care of books, and the underlying message to keep libraries in our neighborhoods will keep this book on many-a-library shelf for a long time. There is a depth to the story about love, loss, and eventual healing. The book may be for children, but adults will love it as well and will also want to read and reread it with and without the children.
On the Moonbot website, on the short film page, it says, “’Morris Lessmore‘ is a story of people who devote their lives to books and books who return the favor.” I would like to add that it is a story for those of us who devote our lives to books and reading and teaching others to read and to appreciate books. As a retired primary-grade teacher and a children’s librarian, I have been blessed by this book (and film).
Reading Level: Age range: 4 – 8 Years
The New York Times Bestseller list for picture books (including a debut at #1!)
Comstock Award for 2013
Christopher Award for 2013
Southern Independent Booksellers Association (SIBA) Book Award for children’s books
William Joyce has achieved world-wide recognition as an author, illustrator and pioneer in the digital and animation industry. He is a Creative Partner of Moonbot Studios. Named by Newsweek magazine as “One of the 100 people to watch in the new millennium,” Mr. Joyce has been very involved in the world of digital animation from its full-scale inception at Pixar Animation. His projects have been produced by nearly every major film studio including Disney, Twentieth Century Fox and DreamWorks Animation. A link is @ http://morrislessmore.com
Joe Bluhm is also wonderfully creative. He draws caricatures; he sketches, paints, and designs digital animations for film, as well as other digital artwork. He also tells stories. He is Art Lead at Moonbot Studios and can be found @ http://joebluhm.com and http://joebluhm.blogspot.com
- ISBN-13: 9781442457027
- Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: 6/19/2012
- Pages: 56
- Product dimensions: 8.40 x 11.80 (h) x 0.46 (d)
I ORIGINALLY REVIEWED THIS BOOK JANUARY, 2014.