Meet Authors & Illustrators

Q&A with Vladimir Radunsky

Hello Mr. Radunsky,

   Thank you very much for agreeing to participate in this e-mail "interview." It is a great pleasure for me but a bit of an imposition for you to take time from your art to sit down to answer all my questions. First, please let me say, that I am a great admirer of your absolute JOY...it comes through in every aspect of your art. Just one look at one of your creations such as the dolly or the pup or DUDE and I find myself smiling. Because I am a "NANA," I want to be just like the grandma in Because...; I want to feel the joy that she does as she flings herself into life without hesitation. My own grandchildren have already benefited from the fact that you and Mr. Baryshnikov have created such a wonderful example for all of us to follow - "express your joy through the arts without inhibitions!" So, as you can see, I am a fan and it will be hard for me to keep my questions objective - but here goes.

Q: One of your latest books is a collaboration with Mikhail Baryshnikov, Because... How did you come to know him, who introduced the two of you? Describe for us a bit about how the idea to give people the courage to express themselves through the arts came to the two of you. (Of course, this could be a book in itself!)

A. The late poet Joseph Brodsky introduced us many years ago, and we immediately established between us this slightly ironic bantering tone; we weren't at all serious, and we certainly weren't thinking of such a serious subject as books. But amusingly enough out of this ironic bantering tone was born the idea for a book together.

Q: Will you give us some of your own sources of inspiration?

A. In general a source of inspiration for me are silly, funny things and people that I see around me. I scrupulously drag them over into my books, where they become the protagonists and often take on even more interesting roles in my stories.

Q.The basic joy that seems to pervade your art must be an expression of your own personality or a persona cultivated through art.

A. Probably the second. I think what you see of me in my books is better than me in real life. In my books I live among my characters and involuntarily take on some of their characteristics, so my own character becomes slightly diluted.

Q: Describe for us your work day. Do you keep to a particular schedule? Do you completely finish one project before beginning another or are ideas flowing so quickly that you must capture them as they occur?

A. I do try to keep to a schedule, which is a necessity of life, because in every book there exists an unpleasant thing called a "deadline."

Once in a while, one book overlaps with another, but that is mainly because I have trouble sticking to a deadline. Ideally, I would prefer to work on one book all my life, because in reality all the books I had done despite being so unlike one another are basically one book, about one thing, just expressed through different words and pictures.

Q: Give us a mental picture of your physical workspace. Do you work to music or require quiet? (I imagine lots of music - am I right?) Do you have a "closed door" policy or do people wonder in and out of your studio? How about pets? Do you seek input from others or do you only show the finished work?

A. You are absolutely right - I have a lot of music; I have pretty eclectic tastes and during work listen to all kinds of music - from classical to rap - it all depends on what I am working on. My studio is situated in a very unkempt garden, my door is mostly open, and I get frequent visits from neighbors' dogs (three huge, very friendly mongrels), in addition to my own dachshund.

Q: What sort of nourishment do you require to keep yourself going through the day? Do you sit down for relaxed meals or are you snacking while working? (Again, I imagine a combination of both - if an idea blooms during a meal, I can see you jumping up to slash out a few strokes with a hunk of bread in one hand and a piece of chalk in the other - too fanciful?)

A. I have to disappoint you here: I do not run around with a hunk of bread. Usually I have lunch right there in the garden at a rotting, makeshift table, where I am often joined by my neighbors (an old Sicilian carpenter Pepe and various other friends); sometimes we go to a local trattoria.

Q: Thinking of meals makes me think of family. Will you tell us about yours - both in childhood and now? A mini bio will give us the basics but could you help us to know the people who influenced you and continue to do so?

A. When I was very little we used to live as a large family with my parents, grandparents and many relatives and friends all around. I think that being surrounded by a large number of people is a very important part of childhood, because you come into contact with various personalities and learn to recognize various shades in people's relationships.

All these people undoubtedly had influenced me in some way, but as I became older I was influenced mainly by the people I did not know personally - writers, painters, composers. The choice of my idols was so eclectic that I am sure they would have been surprised to find themselves in each other's company.

Q: Are there childhood influences (cultural, geo-political, religious etc.) that appear in your art and your approach to expressing ideas through drawing, painting, etc.?

A. It is difficult for me to draw the line between my childhood and my adult life. This kind of division seems especially pointless for a children's author. Everything that happened in the world beginning in 1954 (the year that I was born) in one way or another influenced my work and continues to influence me.

Q: You have created over 40 books and other types of art. Will you talk a bit about the process of working with authors who have their own vision, editors' visions, juxtaposed with YOUR own vision of the basic idea?

A. I have only done 23 books, maybe I should have said "already done 23 books." This number puzzles me, because as I already said I have a feeling that I am always doing one book. A number of books I did by myself (both text and illustrations), so the only juxtaposition would be between me and myself. A few were done with classical authors (e.g., Edward Lear or K. Chukovsky) who had died long before I was born, so here we can only talk about my admiration for them and my fear of disappointing them if they could find out about my existence. The rest of the books were done with friends, and here we can say that it was a "collaboration". As far as the editors are concerned, they are a necessary evil, but I must say I have been extremely lucky in that respect, and all my editors happened to be very charming people.

Q: As you look ahead, what sorts of projects are in the future?

A. I would have liked to give you an intriguing answer, saying that it was some kind of a big surprise or a deep secret, but in reality I have no answer; I just don't know yet.

   Again, many thanks for agreeing to do this with me. I am honored that Lila Haber made this opportunity possible and be assured that I will be a vocal promoter of Because ... and all of your other books.

   With sincere gratitude for the inspiration and pleasure that you give to the world, please, accept my best wishes for a future filled with the JOY that you share with others...

Contributor: Sheilah Egan

 

Reviews

"Fire! fire!" Said Mrs. McGuire
Bill Martin Jr.
Hole and pictures for this book by Vladimir Radunsky
   The old rhyme used for the title is the framework on which Radunsky has built his new visual tale of a race to a surprise ending. Through the keyhole cut through the jacket, cover, and first pages we glimpse the light of a fire at which the small, polka-dot-dressed mouse Mrs. McGuire is pointing. "Where? Where?" asks Mrs. Bear. Mrs. Brown replies "Downtown!" The rhyming questions are traded from mouse to mouse, as the fire is shown through the painted keyhole. Finally, as Mrs. McDavis slides down stairs with a sack of potatoes, the fire appears through a cut-out keyhole again. Turning the page reveals the surprise. The initial setting is an interior done in dark tones: black floor, large brown teddy bear, somber patterned wallpaper. White mice in varied colored dresses catch our attention because of the color contrasts. Computer- generated, somewhat surreal images add to the offbeat fun, enhanced by casual-looking typeface. 2006 (orig. 1971), Harcourt, $16.00. Ages 2 to 5. Reviewers: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 0-15-205725-0
ISBN: 978-0-15-205725-1

#1 (One): A Nice Story About an Awful Braggart
V. Radunsky
   This sequel to the author's 10(ten) is just as zany and crazy. It concerns one of the ten armadillos born to Mr. And Mrs. Armadillo in the first book, the pink one called Six. One day he announces that he is #1; the best, the tallest, the smartest, the #1 inventor, the fastest, the bravest, the strongest, with more best friends, including even the Stinky Cheese Man. He offers wild details to support each claim, ending with his demands for his birthday presents. The whole family agrees that he is #1: "the #1 clown, show-off, chatterbox, storyteller, dreamer!" There is usually one in every family, but Six tops them all. The painted characters who move around the assorted colored pages share the double pages with lines of text in various styles and sizes. There is almost nothing naturalistic about anything here. If the reader values the absurd in life, the allure of the surreal, this is delightful fun. 2003, Viking/Penguin Young Readers Group, $16.99. Ages 3 to 6. Reviewers: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children's Literature).
Best Books:
   Children's Catalog, Eighteenth Edition, Supplement, 2005: H. W. Wilson; United States
   Children's Catalog, Nineteenth Edition, 2006: H.W. Wilson; United States
ISBN: 0-670-03564-5

10 (ten): A Wonderful Story
Vladimir Radunsky
   As unconventional in his design, style, and story as ever, Radunsky begins before the title page by describing armadillos, two of which are his important characters. Mr. and Mrs. Armadillo's happiness is marred only by their desire for children. When Mrs. Armadillo finally has her babies, their joy is complete. Giving up on finding suitable names for them all, they call them "one" through "ten." Zany but happy relatives arrive, bringing ten equally unusual presents each, with a chance for the reader to practice counting. Finally, on a wild, fold-out page, the whole family goes for a stroll with the babies in Uncle Elmer's boat. It all doesn't make much sense, but it is both verbal and visual fun all the way to the "reviews" quoted on the back. The cuddly armadillos, bulky anthropomorphic critters with large noses, cavort across the blank pages with sometimes colored backgrounds. Houses or cars appear as simple, cut out shapes amid the antics. You have to go with his flow and simply enjoy. 2002, Viking/Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, $16.99. Ages 3 to 6. Reviewers: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children's Literature).

   What do armadillos, pregnancy, and counting to ten have to do with each other? Radunsky knows, and proceeds from front endpaper through final fold-out to tell all in a self-designed book replete with madcap text in FuturaExtrabold black (occasionally white). Armadillo parts are charted; their eccentric couture is described (including painting their noses blue). Then begins the story of newly married Mr. and Mrs. Armadillo, crazily and happily in love. Mrs. Armadillo becomes alarmingly enlarged, eventually giving birth to dectuplets. Since the parents haven't decided on names, they christen the pea-green babies One through Ten (Six is an easily identifiable salmon pink). As relatives arrive bearing useful gifts, armadillos dance and parade across the pages, exhibiting their colorful attire. Clearest for counting is the double-page spread showing the ten sitting on their new potties against a mustard yellow background, the natty grandparents looking on. Ten exotic gift pets include a grey plaid elephant, a striped cat and bird, a spotted giraffe, and multicolored dotted cows. Brightly-dressed relatives finally point to the ten neatly attired babies in the only stroller big enough to hold them all--a boat with numbers 1 through 10 painted on its side. This exuberant story, peppered with the author's asides and illustrated with brilliant cut-paper collage, can be great fun for listening, picking out colors and shapes, reciting numbers, and just enjoying the craziness. On the other hand, its eccentric, rather lengthy text and sometimes confusing numbering may be too much for the youngest listeners. 2002, Viking, $16.99. Ages 3 to 6. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft (Children's Literature).
Best Books:
   Publishers Weekly Book Review Stars, September 23, 2002: Cahners; United States
ISBN: 0-670-03563-7

Bling Blang
Woody Guthrie
Pictures by Vladimir Radunsky
   This is a song about building a home for a new baby. The illustrations by Radunsky are very childish and appealing and interspersed with children's drawings. A girl and a boy, both African-American, work together with a cat and a dog to create a home that will "be so strong the winds will sing my baby a song." The chorus is repeated in colorful type while the story is told in black print. Some photographs are combined with gouache to make collages, which make the eye move along the page without any sense of clutter. The sheet music for this 1954 song is printed out on the reverse side of the jacket, making it unavailable for a reader when it is covered with a jacket for library use. Woody Guthrie's daughter is acknowledged by the publisher for her help and support. 2000, Candlewick Press, $12.99. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Candace Deisley (Children's Literature).
Best Books:
   Adventuring with Books: A Booklist for Pre-K-Grade 6 13th Edition, 2002: National Council of Teachers of English; United States
   The Best Children's Books of the Year, 2001: Bank Street College of Education; United States
   Best of the Year, 2000: Child Magazine; United States
   Publishers Weekly Book Review Stars, August 2000: Cahners; United States
ISBN: 0-7636-0769-X

Discovery
Joseph Brodsky
Pictures by Vladimir Radunsky
   The Russian born Brodsky was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1987 and served as the US Poet Laureate in 1991-1992. This posthumously published poem is a humorous piece that ponders the question of the original discoverers of America. According to Brodsky, fish, of course, were the first to discover this land along with the seagulls and the petrels. "Yet they were just pilgrims, and very few of them evolved into settlers." His dry humor and the colorful, funky collage illustrations are perfectly matched. The illustrator is also the book's graphic designer and he has with great creative flair put all the copyright information on the back end papers of the book in just seven lines of type. This has fewer pages than the average picture book but every page is beautiful designed. Radunsky has even managed to include a photo of Brodsky in the last illustration. Radunsky's illustrations are bright, bold and reminiscent of Eric Carle's collages. 1999, Farrar Straus Giroux, $16.00. Ages 5 to 8. Reviewer: Sally J. K. Davies (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 0-374-31793-3

An Edward Lear Alphabet
Edward Lear
Pictures by Vladimir Radunsky
   This is a unique and wonderfully whimsical alphabet book. Each letter is represented by something that begins with that letter and poem. I was once a bottle of ink, "Inky/ Dinky/ Thinky/ Inky/ Blacky minky/ Bottle of Ink." Children and adults will love the wild and crazy rhymes. The bright and colorful illustrations add to the fun reading this book. Creativity is sure to be spurred on and children will be encouraged to do some playing with words on their own. 1999, HarperCollins, $14.95. Ages 4 to 7. Reviewer: Tracy Defina (Children's Literature).
Best Books:
   Publishers Weekly Book Review Stars, April 1999: Cahners; United States
ISBN: 0-06-028113-8
ISBN: 0-06-028114-6

Hail to Mail
Samuel Marshak
Translated from the Russian by Richard Pevear
Illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky
   Samuel Marshak (1887-1964), one of the Soviet Union's most celebrated children's authors and founder of his nation's first children's book publisher and children's theater, was introduced to America children most recently in his book, The Pup Grew Up! (Holt, 1989), the story of a woman at the train station whose Pekinese gets lost in a bureaucratic shuffle. Now the distinguished author's paean to the humble mail carrier is seen in Hail to Mail. In a stylish 1920s look, Soviet-born illustrator and designer Vladimir Radunsky has breathed new life to the text, a poem by Marshak first published in the Soviet Union in 1927. Radunsky, no stranger to fine children's books, brings elegant design and a palate rich with cobalt, crimson, teal, ochre, olive, and ecru that wash over the pages with grace and stylized humor. This book is a visual treat, from the cover dotted with international icons, and title and credits stamped on the cover like postal marks, to the tiny chararcters parading across the half title and title pages. Yet it is the illustrator's sense of humor that lends the book its child appeal. The characters, from John Peck himself, to the letter carriers worldwide (from New York City to Boise, Idaho to Zurich, Switzerland to Brazil and back to New York) are caricatures. Radunsky's people seem a little more droll and a bit friendlier than they did in The Pup Grew Up! My favorite character is the dear old landlady in Zurich who must hold the letter nearly up to her cheek to see that the letter is for "John Peck" not "Pock." (For an extra bit of humor, take the book jacket off and see what the illustrator has put on the book cover: instead of the usual embossed design or elegant colophons, he has placed a notice, "Return to Writer, Collect 6 Cents." A joke on both writers and the postal system.) The English translation of Marshak's poem by Richard Pevear is broken up into ten short segments. It is the voice of John Peck's friend that we first hear, not John himself. We don't really catch up with him until the final pages. Written in loosely rhyming verse, this will make a good read-aloud book. In fact, a sophisticated book like this may need an adult nearby to be appreciated fully. The scenario itself is slight, but the illustrator has contributed much detail and visual beauty and wit to talk about. This book is a little geography lesson, an explication of how mail travels from place to place, but most of all, a celebration of the postal worker. As the author says, And all that, thanks to those who go Through dusty heat and freezing snow-- Glory to them, I say, and hail To their heavy bags that bring the mail! 1990, Holt, $14.95. Ages 7 to 10. Reviewer: Stephen Fraser (The Five Owls, January/February 1991 (Vol. 5, No. 3)).
ISBN: 0805011323

Howdi Do
Woody Guthrie
Pictures by Vladimir Radunsky
   A jolly bit of nonsense song is enlivened by imaginative design and typography, with wit and humor enhanced by Radunsky's comic gouache and collage pictures. "You stick out your little hand to every woman, kid, and man and you wave it up and down" adding the title refrain. Each verse takes the happy canine greeter to a different place or new encounter, with the silly "Howjee, heejee, hijee, hojee, Howdi do, sir, doodle too" etc. chorus repeated. It's hard not to chant, sing, or giggle along. A CD accompanies the book, with the title song and two more by Guthrie performed in a lively fashion by the Band of Weeds. Also included are Radunsky's recorded exchanges with students at P.S. 89, with more giggles. Humans and anthropomorphic cats and dogs do their things against blank backgrounds that emphasize the zany actions. 2000, Candlewick Press, $12.99. Ages 3 to 6. Reviewers: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children's Literature).
Best Books:
   Adventuring with Books: A Booklist for Pre-K-Grade 6 13th Edition, 2002: National Council of Teachers of English; United States
   Children's Catalog, Eighteenth Edition, 2001: H.W. Wilson; United States
   Publishers Weekly Book Review Stars, March 2000: Cahners; United States
ISBN: 0-7636-0768-1

I Love You, Dude
V. Radunsky
Translated from the unknown language by E. Radunsky
   Dude appears as a blue elephant drawn on a wall by a little girl. She has made him skinny, he complains, with big brown shoes on his feet. Leaving the wall, he first leaps onto a mug in a store window. A young girl is thrilled to have a cup that says "I love you Dude" with his picture on it. But he is forced to leave his good life with her and is soon on the run. He has harrowing adventures on a beach, with a troupe of circus elephants, and is finally rescued from the city sidewalk, framed, and placed on a museum wall between a Picasso and a Matisse. The absurd tale is told in ten amusing tongue-in-cheek chapters building to the improbable ending. Radunsky's painted imagery tends to be as absurd as his texts. Dude is very casually chalked in blue with a red smear for a mouth. Other characters are more naturalistic, although a chorus of white elephants in pink polka-dot briefs is hardly ordinary. Here and there he incorporates photographs of items like picture frames and billboards with his display lettering for a truly unique creation open to interpretation. 2005, Gulliver Books/Harcourt, $16.00. Ages 5 up. Reviewers: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 0-15-205176-7

Manneken Pis: A Simple Story of a Boy Who Peed on a War
Vladimir Radunsky
   The statue of the peeing boy is a Brussels tourist attraction. One story of why the city has erected the statue is retold here with simple gusto. When The War comes to his beautiful little town, the sad little boy sees terrible fighting everywhere. He needs to find his mother and father, but he also needs to pee very badly. When he pees from the top of a wall, everything is suddenly quiet; then everyone starts to laugh. The fighting ends, thanks to him, and the grateful town puts up the statue. Some cut papers and vigorously applied paints create the battle scenes with grotesque characters slashing uselessly away at each other until they turn it all around. Variations in typeface add appropriate emphases to the telling and the page designs. A photograph of the actual bronze statue in its naked glory appears at the end and on the back of the jacket/cover. The slapstick fun includes a wise message. 2002, An Anne Schwartz Book/Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division, $15.95. Ages 3 to 8. Reviewers: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children's Literature).
Best Books:
   Choices, 2003; Cooperative Children's Book Center; United States
   Publishers Weekly Book Review Stars, June 24, 2002; Cahners; United States
ISBN: 0-689-83193-5

The Mighty Asparagus
V. Radunsky
   An "amazing" enormous asparagus appears one day right in the king's yard. He finds it ugly, so tries but can't pull it out. The queen thinks it is beautiful enough to move to the palace, but she and the king together can't budge it. The princess wants to "gobble it up." She joins the king's rhino and the bravest knight as they all pull together, in vain. The king finally asks his mother for help. She has the answer. "You should always listen to your mother" is only one of the comments made by those watching as the asparagus finally collapses on a spectacular fold-out. In a typical Radunsky crazy, wild finale, the king composes a ballad of celebration to be sung by all. Pieces of reproductions of 16th century Renaissance paintings are combined with the artist's own comic creations to produce an almost surreal but oddly cohesive narrative, visually and verbally absurd but of course humorous. There are no clues to where the paintings are from. The reader must read everything, including the jacket flaps and back, the end-papers, the title page notes, and all the pictures to "get it" all. 2004, Silver Whistle/Harcourt, $16.00. Ages 6 to 12. Reviewers: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children's Literature).
Best Books:
   Children's Catalog, Eighteenth Edition, Supplement, 2004: H.W. Wilson
   Children's Catalog, Nineteenth Edition, 2006: H.W. Wilson; United States
Awards, Honors, Prizes:
   New York Times Best Illustrated Books of the Year Winner 2004 United States
ISBN: 0-15-216743-9

My Dolly
Woody Guthrie
Pictures by Vladimir Radunsky
   The lyrics to a song entitled, "My Dolly" comprise the text of this book. The sheet music is on the reverse side of the jacket of the book. The illustrations are colorful, energetic and diverse, with a mixture of different types of art from several artists. Some are the work of children, some are photographs and others have been created by Vladimir Radunsky. They complement the words of the song. The book would have been much more enjoyable if I had learned the tune to the song before I read it. The lyrics describe things a child can do with a dolly such as put on clothes, make the dolly sing, dance, play with toys and eat, and give the dolly kisses. 2001, Candlewick Press, $12.99. Ages 2 to 4. Reviewer: Nicole Peterson (Children's Literature).
Best Books:
   New York Times Notable Books, 2001: New York Times; United States
ISBN: 0-7636-0770-3

Square, Triangle, Round, Skinny: 4 Little Books
Vladimir Radunsky
   I love board books. To work at all, they have to look good and feel good. It is a form of minimal art, designed for very young children. This collection of four books is at the top of the game. Round is green with an off center, scribbled sun on the cover, introducing us to the concept of round. A pumpkin, a clock, glasses and buttons reinforce the idea of the circle. Some of the illustrations are loose and jagged, while others are crisp. Triangle has a sailboat on the cover and in it's mere ten pages, illustrates a nose, a piece of pizza, sails, a street sign, and the letter A. Skinny has a skyscraper on the cover, but quickly changes perspective with a dachshund, and scale with a pencil. Square is blue and has photographs of crackers, collages of picture frames, and paintings of windows. This is a delightful collection that celebrates the imagination and the sensitivities of young children. 2002, Candlewick Press, $14.99. Ages 2 to 5. Reviewer: Kristin Harris (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 0-7636-1532-3
ISBN: 0-7636-1533-1
ISBN: 0-7636-1534-X
ISBN: 0-7636-1535-8
ISBN: 0-7636-1536-6

Table Manners: The Edifying Story of Two Friends Whose Discovery of Good Manners Promises Them a Glorious Future
Vladimir Radunsky and Chris Raschka
   From the hilarious before-and-after-table-manners end papers to the enclosed "free instructional poster" recommending against burping, slurping, gravy painting and booger flicking, this is not a guide to dining etiquette that could gain the blessing of Miss Manners. The do's and don'ts of fine dining offered by Raschka and Radunsky, through a dialogue between their alter-egos Chester and Dudunya, are limited mainly to: use a napkin to wipe your mouth (rather than wearing it as a crown or waving it as a flag), chew your food, and don't eat with your mouth full (to avoid producing a chocolate-covered father, a mother with sprinkles, or a candied dog). Those in search of actual guidance to proper dining behavior should look elsewhere. But the book as a whole is a one-of-a-kind, boldly designed, brightly colored, oversized, comic romp of unrelenting, non-stop, kid-pleasing silliness. 2001, Candlewick Press, $16.99. Ages All. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.
(Children's Literature).

   These two always inventive and outrageous author/illustrators have given their imaginations free rein in this exposition of good manners for boys and girls along with some reasons for using them. They include side notes on folding napkins for the visiting queen or president, multilingual forms of "please" and "thank you," and an unfolding chart of "no's" to remember, all in good, slapstick fun. The pages are replete with photographic collage, crude paintings, hand calligraphy, lots of letterforms and blocks of color, and more. Don't miss the "before" and "after" endpapers, the self-portraits and the nutty notes on the jacket/cover. One doesn't "read" this book; one experiences it! There are also useful rules to learn; this approach may be a good way to learn them. 2001, Candlewick Press, $16.99. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewers: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 0-7636-1453-X

What Does Peace Feel Like?
V. Radunsky and children just like you from around the world
   Children at the Ambrit international School in Rome were asked to comment on peace: what it smells, sounds, and tastes like; and how it looks and feels. The first names and ages of the children are listed on the page opposite the quotes. Their responses can encourage readers to add their own responses. Some are pithy, such as peace looks "like new babies just born yesterday..." and sounds "like no bad words." Others are more concrete, such as peace tastes "like your favorite food times two" and smells "like pizza with onions and sausage that just came out of the oven." This is a marvelous discussion-starter for home and classroom. Radunsky's illustrations, too, can be used to elicit responses from children. The word "peace" is presented in 189 languages at the back of the book. Part of the proceeds will be donated to CARE. 2004, Anne Schwartz Book/Atheneum Books for Young Readers, $14.95. Ages 5 to 9. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo (Children's Literature).
Best Books:
   Children's Catalog, Eighteenth Edition, Supplement, 2005: H. W. Wilson; United States
   Children's Catalog, Nineteenth Edition, 2006: H.W. Wilson; United States
   Choices, 2005: Cooperative Children's Book Center; United States
   Kirkus Book Review Stars, November 1, 2004: United States
State and Provincial Reading Lists:
   Armadillo Readers' Choice Award, 2004-2005: Nominee; PreK-2; Texas
ISBN: 0-689-86676-3

Yucka Drucka Droni
Eugenia Radunsky and Vladimir Radunsky
Illustrations by Vladimir Radunsky
   Radunsky's wildly inventive style suits this absolutely senseless tongue-twister of a tale. The title character is the third brother; Yuck and Yucka-Druk are the other two. They meet and marry three sisters--Zippa, Zippa-Drippa, and Zippa-Drippa-Limpomponi. And they have children with equally preposterous names. Try to keep a straight face reading this one aloud! And nothing is quite like the illustrations the artist has created here with bits of photographs, decorated papers, colored drawings, and assorted typefaces, unconventional from cover to cover. Many ideas for budding illustrations are here along with the laughs. 1998, Scholastic Press, $15.95. Ages 5 up. Reviewers: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children's Literature).
Best Books:
   Kirkus Book Review Stars, 1998; United States
   School Library Journal Book Review Stars, March 1998; Cahners; United States
ISBN: 0-590-09837-3

 

Added 07/30/07

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