http://morrislessmore.com Retail Price: App available in iTunes, $4.99; Movie available in iTunes, HD version, $2.99, Movie available in iTunes, $1.99
Inspired by the William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg animated short film of the same title, Moonbot’s Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore is an interactive storybook that artfully blends 2D and computer animation techniques with interactive fun for a whimsical look at reading.
Quality and Effectiveness: An interactive audio-rich, child-appropriate storybook like Fantastic Flying Books can help build reading and listening skills in engaging, ways by offering a variety of playful reading and story-related activities.
Ease of Use: Even young readers won��t need much prompting to explore storybook pages. The graphical multimedia-rich interface makes operation intuitive and quickly puts readers in control. Some items on every page respond to the swipe or tap of a finger, providing rewards for exploration and curiosity. If readers do nothing, the story prompts them by drawing attention to the active element.
Creative Use of Technology: Each of the book’s interactive pages is beautifully rendered with meticulously rendered graphics, except at the beginning of the story when Morris is without his books. On those pages, he and his surroundings appear in drab black and white. High-quality animations and clever sound effects flavor each page, bringing storybook characters to life on screen.
Suitability for Use in a School Environment: This interactive tactile reading bonanza is designed for home use, not the classroom. It is missing some literacy- building elements that educators have come to appreciate. For example, words and phrases do not highlight as they are read aloud. Readers can’t tap just one word and hear it read. Tapping anywhere in the text section causes the narrator to re-read the entire page. Additionally, the app lacks a dictionary function. Youngsters cannot select a word and bring up a definition. Finally, unlike books available from Moving Tales, readers cannot choose a different language for the text, nor record themselves reading each page aloud for later playback.
Regardless of the mild literacy-building shortcomings of this interactive book, Moonbot’s Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Livermore is pure delight. Its compelling story has a happy ending. It features high-quality graphics, 2D animations, plus music and sound effects that help tell the story without dominating the page. Children can navigate the book on their own (during silent reading times if the iPad is equipped with headphones), in small groups with reading companions, or with an adult. When they read and explore the pages, they are rewarded with many surprises and fun activities that will encourage a sustained appreciation for reading and the written word.
• The book artfully blends colorful animation, lively sounds and music, compelling graphics, and engaging activities.
• While the book is aimed at young children, even teens and adults will enjoy exploring its pages.
• The award-winning movie will provide additional motivation for reading the book.