”Morris Lessmore loved words. He loved stories. He loved books. His life was a book of his own writing, one orderly page after another…”
So begins The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce, an interactive digital narrative based on the award-winning animated short film of the same name.
Created by Moonbot Studios the app “blurs the line between picture books and animated film” and adds further fuel to the ongoing debate of what constitutes a book, for the app is not based on a book and has yet to be “in print” (a picture book version is in development).
Each of the 27 screens offers the viewer a chance to interact with Morris. From the opening “Wizard of Oz”- like tornado scene where you can facilitate the speed of Morris tumbling through the storm, to the screen where you help Morris repair some books, the narrative remains dependent on your involvement.
The options available allow you to “read” the app with or without text, narration or the accompanying musical soundtrack.
Each “reading” of the story will be unique, since much is based on the reader’s movements on the touch screen. The creators call it the “reinvention of digital storytelling.”
Though the technology might be to new to be “reinvented” it is not hard to see how this just might be the future of digital storytelling.
Both myself and my seven year old daughter thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
Here is how the publisher frames it:
Moonbot creates big imaginative stories. More often than not these stories lend themselves to be presented in the form of books. What is a book? You may ask. Well, there once was a time when words and images were printed on a material called paper. This, almost lost, art form will always be protected by the stories we create here. Sometimes these stories will also be distributed in the form of interactive Apps for mobile devices. It just so happens that our first book will be distributed in this way.
The app was recently reviewed by Bob Tedeschi in the NYT: For the iPad, Books That Respond to a Child’s Touch
Previously on Book Patrol:
Book App Review: The Waste Land