The Fuchsia Is Now, by J. Otto Seibold, leads off MotherReader’s new feature, “Weird-Ass Picture Book of the Month.” J. Otto Seibold is no stranger to odd picture books. In fact, he may be called a reigning king. But this particular book hits a new high in both story and illustrations, and thus earns itself the honored title of Weird-Ass Picture Book of the Month.
Fuchsia is a little fuchsia girl who makes a wish on her birthday cake for her wish to come true. Which begs the question of how much wish can a Fuchsia wish if a Fuchsia could wish... anyway. She opens her present and finds a hat that makes her head look like a baby bottle or a... umm, condom. Then she decides to put a flower on her hat to make it look fancy and poof! A fairy pops out! The fairy poofs her some strange new friends, some with condom caps as well. It’s a new trend. They all play until nighttime and Fuchsia learns that she can bring them all back again by saying, “THE FUCHSIA IS NOW.”
J. Otto Seibold’s work with the bullet hole eyes has never appealed to me. And it doesn’t now either. But I think the story is weird and plotless as well. The book reads like a surreal Dick and Jane very stilted, but with an occasional strange turn of phrase.
Most interesting to me is that Target used this book in promoting its Ready Set Read program. How did the marketing department make that happen? “The kids will love this stuff because it’s Hello Kitty meets The Powerpuff Girls meets Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends. So we’ll get the preschoolers, the elementary crowd, and the pot-smoking teens to boot!” And that’s how J. Otto Seibold began designing Target’s newspaper inserts for the program. And oh boy, go to the website for a odd introduction that competes with the 1970s Sesame Street vignettes. Speaking of smoking a little somethin’...