Reading as Synthesis of Immersion and Interactivity: Multimodal Metaphors in "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore" Combo
In addition to being praised for promoting the healing power and the pedagogical potential of literature, William Joyce and Moonbot Studios’ The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, a cross-media narrative,which consists of four thematically related but discrete versions of one story a film, an e-book app, a picturebook and an IMAG-N-O-TRON app, has been criticized for two main reasons. First, it has been revealed that the book emphasizes the significance of books at large at the expense of foregrounding the benefits and mechanics of the act of reading. Second, one of its components, the e-book app, has been regarded as ineffective in enhancing the reading experience due to its limited interactive options. Whereas we partially agree with the latter argument, we nevertheless argue that, if seen as a whole, the Lessmore combo employs a catalogue of metaphors, such as reading is sharing or reading is remaining young, with a view to deepening and refreshing the reader/viewer/user’s appreciation of reading as an activity that fosters one’s affective and cognitive development. Significantly, depending on the narrative platform, these metaphors can be cued textually, visually, musically or/and kinesthetically. Focusing specifically on the metaphor reading is engaging with fictive minds, this article explores how the Lessmore film and its remediations recycle that metaphor along with encouraging the experience of immersion or/and interactivity.