Review: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore - short film and interactive iPad storybook
Watching this short film, and to a lesser extent, experiencing the iPad animated book version was magical. It captivated me, spoke to me, and even made me cry a little. My husband, my two-year old, and my four-year old were captivated as well.
I hesitate to tell you too much about the story. On the website I read that the story was inspired by Hurricane Katrina, Buster Keaton, The Wizard of Oz, and a love for books. The animation was done using miniatures, computer animation, and 2D animation creating a very unique and completely engaging look.
The storybook app has an interactive element on every page. Some are simple - a swipe of a finger creates wind, or colors the sky. Other pages have simple activities like drawing on a blank page in a book, spelling with letters in a bowl of cereal, or changing the seasons. A few pages have simple, yet beautifully done mini-games including playing "Pop Goes the Weasel" on a piano, putting together puzzles, or my favorite of dressing characters up as characters from famous novels (pirate, Frankenstein, the Queen of Hearts, Ebenezer Scrooge).
My children laughed with delight at the look on Morris' face when a book came thudding to the ground. They competed to touch the screen on so many pages finally falling into a rhythm of taking turns on each page until we were all ready to turn the page to hear the next part of the story. Now, we read-played-experienced the animated book version first and watched the animated short second. I would actually recommend doing things the other way around. Watch the short first. Enjoy the experience with no preconceived expectations. Next, thoroughly enjoy the animated book. Then, if your children are old enough, enjoy discussing the similarities and differences between the two media.
Every time I watch it I appreciate the story on another level or catch something I missed the first time. For anyone with a love of books, animation, New Orleans, or simply a wonderful magical story I cannot recommend this enough.
Here is a great trailer for the animated short (but don't watch it if I've already convinced you - watch the short with a blank slate):
This is a trailer for the iPad app:
I also very much enjoyed the "making of" videos on their website and watched every one.
You can purchase the animated film from iTunes separately for $2.99, or you can purchase the iPad app for $4.99 which includes the film and an animated, interactive book version of the story.