Ex-Pixar Designer Takes Book to iPad

William Joyce, a designer who worked on two of Pixar’s early hits (Toy Story and A Bug’s Life), has created a new book/film/app for children called The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. The work has been brought to market in two forms, the first as a standalone animated film, and the second as a fully (and amazingly) interactive app for the iPad that combines elements of both a book and the movie.

“Inspired in equal measures, by Hurricane Katrina, Buster Keaton, The Wizard of Oz, and a love for books, Morris Lessmore is a story of people who devote their lives to books and books who return the favor. The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is a poignant, humorous allegory about the curative powers of story

As an interactive app for kids, the work is the kind of project that caused Nicholas Callaway to ditch his successful print book business for iPad apps. We covered Mr. Callaway’s in April, when he had changed the name of his publishing house to Callaway Digital Arts.

Mr. Joyce and the design studio he worked with, Moonbot Studios, has taken a similar angle to creative works as iPad apps, but with animated movies instead of books. In the promotional video below, you can see that text for the story is presented with interactive scenes taken from the movie, but those scenes need to be activated by the reader (though they don’t have to do so if they don’t wish).

The story has also been released as a film, however, a film available on iTunes. It’s the same story, but without the interactivity of the touchscreen iPad app.

We’re highlighting this project today in part because of the way it illustrates the effect the iPad is having on contemporary culture. The iPad is becoming a delivery vehicle for content in its own right, the same way that books and movies have been delivery vehicles in the past.

Plus, it’s super cool.

Promo video for the The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore iPad app

The iPad version of The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is priced at US$4.99, while the movie is available for $1.99.

Thanks to Co.Design for the heads up on the app.