The Amazing Rigatoni

Meredith Silverman

An interactive, animated storybook about a couple of circus performers and a chance encounter.


Classes Thesis

A writer and web designer by trade, I have recently fallen in love with animation. I discovered the medium during my master’s studies at NYU.

I find animation to be a direct and literal way to communicate an idea or tell a story – with absolute freedom of both subject matter and style. With today’s powerful and straightforward animation technology, an artist can create a whole world before lunch.

I was inspired by The Book of Lulu, a CD-ROM published in 1995. The story, written by Romain Victor-Pujebet, is about a lonely little princess who teaches a space-traveling robot to feel human warmth. It’s presented to us as an open book with text and interactive portions where a picture book's illustrations would be.

I loved the way The Book of Lulu integrates the written word with images, animation, and sound. I wanted to present one of my own stories the same way.

The story depicts the return of some flawed circus performers to their home at the circus. By the time they arrive, they have driven a truck driver to insanity, offended more than a few noses, and figured out what really matters.

My story, like The Book of Lulu, lives on the printed page – which lives on a computer screen. I've integrated images, motion, and sound to produce a story that says more and invites deeper participation than words could do alone.

It's my wish that exploring this strange and animated world makes you feel like a kid again.

* Dust or Magic by Bob Hughes
* Convergence Culture by Henry Jenkins

* “Reframing Research and Literacy Pedagogy Relating to CD Narratives: Addressing ‘Radical Change’ in Digital Age Literature for Children” by Len Usworth
* “Click and Turn the Page: An Exploration of Multiple Storybook Literacy” by Cynthia R. Smith
* “Don’t Press That Button” by Matthew J. Costello
* “Hypertext and the Changing Roles of Readers” by Nancy G. Patterson
* “Children’s Media Culture in the New Millenium: Mapping the Digital Landscape” by Kathryn C. Montgomery

* The Book of Lulu by Romain Victor-Pujebet
* Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree
* Mulan
* 101 Dalmations
* Pocahontas
* Arthur’s Reading Race
* Green Eggs and Ham
* The Cat in the Hat
* Stellaluna
* American Girl: Julie Saves the Eagles

Kids and adults. Deliberate and excellent children's entertainment has always found an audience with adults -- like The Little Prince, The Muppet Show, or Harry Potter.