The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
iPad; for all ages
It’s a common trope in children’s stories for a young reader to become so immersed in a book that he or she literally falls into it and becomes part of the action. This stunning iPad book app from Louisiana-based animation studio Moonbot may be the closest thing to that fantasy come to life. The story, already made into an Oscar-nominated short film, follows a man who is swept by a storm into a world of fluttering books (see above). Each beat of the story takes advantage of the iPad’s interactivity, whether it asks you to play a song on a piano keyboard or arrange words out of alphabet cereal. Lessmore actually outsold Angry Birds upon release — for a couple of days, anyway.
iPad; for all ages
This update of the Lewis Carroll classic is sort of a high-tech pop-up book and contains plenty of fun gimmicks, like a stretchable, shrinkable Alice and tarts you can throw at the Queen of Hearts. The app also includes a feature that parents will enjoy: a shortened ”bedtime” version in addition to the unabridged novel.
Marcel the Shell With Shoes On: Things About Me
iPad and iPhone; for ages 3 and up
Our favorite talking shell went viral on YouTube in 2010 with his tiny problems. It turns out Marcel’s brand of repetitive storytelling (”Guess what I use as a hat?”) is well suited to a children’s book and app. You can turn Marcel’s narration on and off, but his pip-squeak voice — performed by co-creator and SNL alum Jenny Slate — is the best part.
The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories
iPad, iPhone, and Android; for all ages
Long hiding in obscurity, The Bippolo Seed and other lost Dr. Seuss stories were published in book form last fall. The app version, which features animated illustrations, doesn’t contain too many bells and whistles, but it’s an easy-to-navigate read that will enchant both kids and adults who grew up on Seuss.
Pat the Bunny
iPad and iPhone; for ages 0-3
Designed for the youngest users, this app version of Dorothy Kunhardt’s children’s classic leads kids through tasks that require simple finger swipes (”play peek-a-boo,” ”break the piñata”) and gives them the option to color each page crayon-free.