Okay, this might take some explanation, especially if you're new to the blog. Way back in the first year, one of the most popular posts I wrote mentioned the Firffels and my assumed history of the toy line. Many comments suggested I was very wrong about the Fiffels and that they had a much more interesting history. I made a follow-up post which itself became very popular. Sadly, it didn't look like there was any more to learn about the Firffels, since the book that introduced the characters, Whoever Heard of a Fird, was long out of print and what copies popped up as available were very expensive.
Well, a few weeks ago, I received the following email:
Hi there.I was looking at your blog. My name is Shann Hurst, I'm an illustrator. I thought you might be interested to know that I've been working with Othello Bach and we're re-releasing "Whoever Heard Of A Fird?" Actually it's out and on sale now. Anyway, It's something we've really put a lot of work into and we're really excited about how it's turning out. If you have time, you're invited to look at the official website: www.whoeverheardofafird.comLet me know how you like it.Shann Hurst
I thanked Shann Hurst and ordered the book right away. It took a while to arrive, which implies that it must be pretty popular and there's a lot of nostalgia for these characters.
And now that I've just finally read the book, I can see why. The message is simple: be yourself. But everything else in the book is so unusual and fun that the moral doesn't feel like a pill.
First off, obviously, the characters are all delightfully bizarre. Boogie monsters, Panducks, Kangaroctopi, it's clear that Othello Bach had a lot of fun coming up with these creatures and Shann Hurst must have had a lot of fun drawing them. Hurst's style itself is very unusual and almost surreal, and it fits the menagerie of friendly freaks.
Othello's writing is highly unique as well. The book is much more text-heavy than I thought it would be, but it never feels bloated. A lot of text is given over to poems and songs, some of which get downright philosophical. And some of them are just fun.
My prediction is that kids -especially weird kids- are going to embrace this new edition of Whoever Heard of a Fird. Hopefully, it'll renew interest in Othello Bach's characters.
Sketch of the Day