Apple 2.0

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Morris Lessmore's fantastic flying iPad app

July 13, 2011: 8:48 AM ET

Climbing the iTunes top-grossing app charts is a touching homage to the printed page

Source: Moonbot Studios

It's nice to see, among all the Angry Birds and Fruit Ninjas, an animated children's book doing well on Apple's (AAPL) App Store -- especially when the work in question is as lovingly conceived and rendered as William Joyce's The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.

The $4.99 iPad app debuted on May 31 and has been slowly making its way up the charts. This week it hit the big time. It is currently the App Store's No. 1 bestselling book app, the No. 2 paid app, the No. 3 top-grossing app of all kinds.

If any iPad program deserves its success, it's this one. It was clearly a labor of love for Joyce, a former Pixar (DIS) designer, and his team at Moonbot Studios. The story of the dreamily bookish Morris Lessmore first appeared in 2010 as a charming silent short film ($1.99 on iTunes), but has been delightfully re-imagined as an animated book with a hundred clever touches, from the classic titles that whisper their most famous sentences ("Call me Ishmael," etc.) to the readers who turn into characters in whatever books Morris gives them, from Treasure Island to Alice in Wonderland.

You can get a feel for the app from the YouTube video posted below the fold. Also below, a video peek inside Moonbot's operations.

Via MacObserver. Thanks to reader Travis Lewis for the tip.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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