Morris Lessmore book amplifies fantastic animation

Spoiler alert! The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore gives readers a great story with great animation and just enough interactive fun to justify the iPad app. It makes a great companion to the short film.


The best books require a great story and great writing. The best children’s books require a great story, great illustrations and good writing. When the illustrations come to life, all the better.The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore stands on its own or as a companion piece to the animated short of the same name. The short alone is worth the price of the download. Unfortunately, the short isn’t included in the app. You have to download it (and pay for it) separately on iTunes.The stories that endure captivate adults as well as children and Lessmore captivates at many levels. The writing is great, the artwork great and the animation inspired. The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is less an interactive book than an animated book based on the short. The pages move even if you don’t touch them, and while other interactive books bury a number of nuggets on the page, Lessmore settles for a select few.You can make the wind blow and spin houses during a tornado. You can play a piano. The most appealing elements of the book remain the story and illustrations.

The beautiful girl carried away by flying books is only the first of the mysteries that Morris will encounter in his exotic new world.

Morris Lessmore spends his days writing one book, the book of his life. His love of stories and words drives his own story, much like Marcel Proust. Nature decides it isn’t enough for Morris to write, it captures him in a whirlwind and takes him to another place altogether. The whirlwind wipes the words from his book and his life turns to black and white. He seems lost until a beautiful women whisked along by flying books brings the color back.If this sounds suspiciously like the Wizard of Oz, it is. The story is just as magical but once the flying woman appears any other resemblance to Oz disappears. Morris discovers a library filled with animated books. He reads them, repairs them, returns them to their proper shelves each night after they visit each other and even recommends them to readers looking for something good to read.

You can even play Pop Goes the Weasel for Humpty Dumpty on the app’s piano.

Author William Joyce wrote the story and Moonbot studios produced the animation. The two have collaborated on a number of projects and he has written several children’s books. The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore will be released in hardcover next July.The illustrations are nothing short of delightful and the story remarkably adult for a children’s book. There’s no guarantee that the app will prepare children for the enjoyment of great adult literature but it will put them on the right path. The short film was good enough to win the animated shorts award at Cinequest.

Morris loves books so much he often becomes lost in the words.

Apparently a huge bug appears in the middle of the book for some readers, but I haven’t found it. Moonbot has already submitted the bug fix and it shouldn’t interfere with your enjoyment. The app costs $5, which makes it one of the pricier interactive children’s books, and you will have to pay another $3 for the 15 minute film on iTunes. In addition, you can download eight different “making of” featurettes explaining how the film was animated.Both belong in your library. It’s too early too call The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore a classic, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes one.

Jenny Manytoes rates The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Jenny Manytoes would make biscuits all over The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. The books are real enough for her to chase when I leave it running. Another Best Buy.

The Jenny Manytoes Rating System

Jenny Manytoes, our polydactyl cat
  • When Jenny makes biscuits on a product she thinks she’s in heaven.
  • When Jenny purrs over a product she’s very happy.
  • When Jenny naps next to a product it’s okay with her.
  • When Jenny bunches her tail she can live with a product, but she has higher expectations.
  • When Jenny leaves it in the litter box….I don’t think I need to explain this one.
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About Phillip T Stephens

Phillip T. Stephens disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle twenty years before he was born, creating a time travel paradox so confusing it remains unspoken between physicists and sci-fi writers to this day. Follow @stephens_pt
This entry was posted in 5 Stars + Best Buy, Entertainment, Interactive, Reading and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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