The Glorious Tale of Mr. Lessmore and the Future of Kids' E-Books

More

A new iPad app pulls together elements of animation, storytelling, and interactive play for a wild reading experience

morrislessmore.jpg

From the moment you open Moonbot Studios' The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, it will be clear you are looking at something very special, something not just slapped together to push a short film of the same name but a product of a thoughtful, creative team of people dreaming big about the possibilities for children's literature in the age of the tablet.

On each "page" of the story, readers can play with the interactive animation to a variety of effects. Swirl your finger around in a storm and change the way the wind blows. Linger over some eager books to hear famous lines from their contents. All tricks are not equally engaging, but the better ones are small wonders. (Pro tip: were I to look at this with a child, I would turn the narration off and do the reading personally. You can do so while leaving in place the evocative background music.)

The tale is about one Morris Lessmore, who gets swept away in a storm and winds up in an "extraordinary building" where books live. There, Morris befriends the books, takes care of them, and even writes his own, a story of all "his joys and sorrows, all that he knew and everything that he hoped."

Thus, curiously, this very digital experience is, at heart, an homage to paper-and-glue books. Perhaps a clue to the creators' apparent ambivalence about a new age of children's books lies in the name of the main character, Morris Lessmore. More can be less, they suggest, but sometimes it can also be more.

Image: Moonbot Studios; Via John Pavlus at FastCoDesign.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Rebecca J. Rosen is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the Business Channel. She was previously an associate editor at The Wilson Quarterly.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Technology

Just In