Immerse yourself in visual storytelling with The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Jul 20, 2011
Tech

Book apps are getting stronger, more versatile and more interesting, and the app-book The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is no exception. Created by William Joyce, a former Pixar animator, and Moonbot Studios, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore provides an interactive reading experience that’s ideal for children (or the whole […]

Book apps are getting stronger, more versatile and more interesting, and the app-book The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is no exception. Created by William Joyce, a former Pixar animator, and Moonbot Studios, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore provides an interactive reading experience that’s ideal for children (or the whole family, really).

The Fantastic Flying Books takes its cues from the animated short of the same name. The film version of the story is available in iTunes for $2.99, so I was bit surprised that the price of the app version wasn’t more comparable. That said, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is beautifully designed, as you’d expect from a team with such lofty credentials. As you flip through the story — I don’t want to give away any plot details — hotspots will flash on-screen, providing an interactive aspect to immerse the reader in the story. For instance, it’s up to you to start the storm that causes Lessmore to take his journey. When he arrives at his new home, you’ll be treated to a piano lesson. At one point, Lessmore describes getting lost in the pages of a book, so you can move the iPad to simulate flying along with him (this was my favorite interaction).

It’s worth noting that the story itself is on the short side. Yes, the hotspots will hold interest initially, but I have to wonder if users will explore this app more than once. From an interface standpoint, I did have trouble hitting the right place to turn the page, so I often found myself on a previous page and hearing the narrative (which is well-done) repeatedly. I like that you can turn off the narration to read the text yourself, or turn off the subtitles and watch the story like a movie.

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The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore offers visual interest that probably will become more common in these book-style apps. Families will be able to enjoy the story together — if they’re comfortable with the $5 purchase price.

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Kathryn Swartz

Kathryn Swartz is a freelance writer/editor who doesn't know how people lived pre iPhone. She attended the Missouri School of Journalism.

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