Exploring The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore

by trahiggs
Last updated 6 years ago

Discipline:
Language Arts
Subject:
Literature

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Exploring The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore

Learning opportunities~Understand, interpret and experiment with sound devices and imagery, including simile, metaphor and personification, in narratives, shape poetry, songs, anthems and odes (Year 5; ACELT1611) (ACARA, 2013). ~Learning activity 1: Students brainstorm words describing the images created in their minds from the text. The text is re-read and direct words from the text which create imagery are added to the list. In pairs students chose ten of those words and investigate synonyms for them to develop a large bank of descriptive words related to the story. Individually students then use those words to create a shape poem in the form of a book which uses imagery to describe an aspect of the text.Learning activity 2: Students are asked to step inside the viewpoint of one of the books in the stories and answer questions such as: what do you see? What do you feel? What do you know or believe? Students then create a narrative about a day in the life of a book, either one from Morris’ world, or of their own creation.

Joyce, W. E. (2012). The fantastic flying books of Mr Morris Lessmore. London, UK: Simon and Schuster.

A quality children's book~The fantastic flying books of Mr Morris Lessmore is a fine example of what makes for quality children’s literature. Quality children’s literature engages the senses and encourages deep levels of intellect by going beyond merely telling a story and providing a description of events (Lukens, 2007; Winch, Johnston, March, Ljungdahl & Holliday, 2010). It provides a combination of aesthetic pleasure and understanding by connecting to and engaging the emotions of the reader through the exploration of the themes and issues of the human condition (Lukens, 2007). It is able to use language, often of various modes, to take the reader on a journey to other worlds, of varying levels of distance from reality, and enables the exploration of new experiences, of the world, and of self (Winch, et al., 2010).The fantastic flying books of Mr Morris Lessmore presents a world where books come to life and have personalities, feelings and are truly valued. It takes the reader on a journey alongside Morris through the loss he feels when he loses books from his life and the happiness which comes through finding them again. It uses metaphors and symbolism and various language and visual elements to present deeper layers of meaning and invite the reader to think beyond the surface of the pages about such themes as the cycle of life and of renewal after all seems lost. Through the connections it makes to the reader’s emotions it encourages empathy towards Morris’ love of books and encourages this same love and value to be felt beyond its pages which enhances both the aesthetic value of the text and the intrinsic value gained by reading it. The Australian curriculum stipulates the value of quality literature’s ability to engage students with various language elements which create deeper levels of meaning (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Agency [ACARA], 2013). The sections within this Glog on language features and visual elements seek to present how The Fantastic flying books of Mr Morris Lessmore exemplifies this.

ReferencesAustralian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2013). The Australian curriculum: English. Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/English/Curriculum/F-10Callow, J. (2013). The shape of texts to come: How images and text work. Newtown, NSW: Primary English Teaching Association of Australia (PETAA).Derewianka, B. (2011). A new grammar companion for teachers. Sydney, NSW: Primary English Teaching Association.Joyce, W. E. (2012). The fantastic flying books of Mr Morris Lessmore. London, UK: Simon and Schuster.Kress, G., & Van Leeuwen, T. (2006). Reading images: The grammar of visual design (2nd ed.). London, Routledge.Lukens, R. J. (2007). A critical handbook of children’s literature (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education. Winch, G., Johnston, R., March, P., Ljungdahl, L., & Holliday, M. (2010). Literacy: Reading, writing and children's literature (4th ed.). South Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press.

Language features~The fantastic flying books of Mr Morris Lessmore enhances its aesthetic value through the poetic use of language. “as if each book was whispering an invitation to adventure”“He wrote of his joys and sorrows, of all that he knew and everything that he hoped for”Joyce creates a sense of beauty with his words while also presenting an added layer of imagery and symbolism through the use of descriptive language “whispering an invitation to adventure”“stooped and crinkly”“...pulled along by a festive squadron of flying books”When the text is analysed further, a deeper layer of the story is revealed through its use of personification, punctuation and repetition to enhance meaning. The text uses personification by treating the books as real life creatures with feelings who fly of their own accord, have a voice, go to sleep at night, and read to Morris when he is old. This allows the reader to empathise with the books and because of this I am left feeling their sorrow when Morris leaves and their joy when a new girl arrives. It enhances my appreciation of the story and of books in general. Repetition is used simply throughout the text to accentuate the meaning of words (Derewianka, 2011). "The winds blew and blew…""So he began to wander. And wander."It even uses repetition of sounds to enhance the meaning of two otherwise unrelated words.Then a happy bit of happenstance came his way.The sound of “hap” creates a sense that both words amplify each other as if to reiterate each other’s meaning. Full stops are used throughout the text to make the reader pause. This encourages reflection on the meaning of the sentence before moving forwards. Often during the text Joyce combines the use of punctuation with repetition to really exemplify the meaning being portrayed by encouraging reflection on a concept and then repeating the term to add impact and validity to the meaning. The opening lines provide a rich example of this.Morris Lessmore loved words.He loved stories.He loved books.Here Joyce presents three representations of the same underlying meaning, separated by punctuation to encourage reflection to really develop a sense of Morris’ adoration of books. There is also repetition of the following phrase which is added at the beginning, middle and end of the text: “He wrote of his joys and sorrows, of all that he knew and everything that he hoped for”For me this reiterates throughout the text the beauty of the book and the beauty of literature being filled with emotion, with knowledge and with dreams.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris LessmoreA Glog by Tracey Higgs for ESH151: Children's Literature Studies

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