Radunsky, Vladimir

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Radunsky, Vladimir

Personal

Born in USSR (now Russia); immigrated to United States, 1982; married; wife's name Eugenia (an illustrator).

Addresses

Home—New York, NY; Rome, Italy. E-mail—[email protected]

Career

Author and illustrator. Also worked as a book designer.

Writings

SELF-ILLUSTRATED

(With wife, Eugenia Radunsky) Square, Triangle, Round, Skinny: Four Books in a Box, Holt (New York, NY), 1992.

(With Eugenia Radunsky) Yucka Drucka Droni, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1998.

(With Chris Raschka) Table Manners: The Edifying Story of Two Friends Whose Discovery of Good Manners Promises Them a Glorious Future, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2001.

Manneken Pis: A Simple Story of a Boy Who Peed on a War, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2002.

Ten: A Wonderful Story, Viking (New York, NY), 2002.

One: A Nice Story about an Awful Braggart, Viking (New York, NY), 2003.

(With Chris Raschka) Boy Meets Girl/Girl Meets Boy, Seuil Chronicle (San Francisco, CA), 2004.

The Mighty Asparagus, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2004.

What Does Peace Feel Like?, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2004.

I Love You Dude, translated by Eugenia Radunsky, Gulliver Books (Orlando, FL), 2005.

(With others) Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?, Penguin (New York, NY), 2006.

ILLUSTRATOR

(With Robert Rayevsky) Adele Vernon, The Riddle, Dodd, Mead (New York, NY), 1987.

Samuel Marshak, The Pup Grew Up!, translated from the Russian by Richard Pevear, Holt (New York, NY), 1989.

Samuel Marshak, Hail to Mail, translated from the Russian by Richard Pevear, Holt (New York, NY), 1990.

Daniil Kharms, The Story of a Boy Named Will, Who Went Sledding down a Hill, translated from the Russian by Jamey Gambrell, North-South Books (New York, NY), 1993.

Bill Martin, Jr., The Maestro Plays, Holt (New York, NY), 1994.

Jamey Gambrell, Telephone, North-South Books (New York, NY), 1996.

Edward Lear, An Edward Lear Alphabet, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1999.

Joseph Brodsky, Discovery, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1999.

Woody Guthrie, Howdi Do, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2000.

Woody Guthrie, Bling Blang, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2000.

Woody Guthrie, My Dolly, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2001.

Bill Martin, Jr., "Fire! Fire!" Said Mrs. McGuire, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2006.

Mikhail Baryshnikov, Because …, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2007.

Mem Fox, Where the Giant Sleeps, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2007.

Sidelights

Born in the former Soviet Union, Vladimir Radunsky is the author and illustrator of a number of critically acclaimed works for young readers. "Each of Radunsky's picture books is a delightfully off-kilter pastiche that sets off an energetic interplay of vibrant colors, flat perspectives and vaudeville-esque characters," remarked a critic in Publishers Weekly. "Skirting the thin line between the whimsical and the absurd," the critic added, "Radunsky's work is almost guaranteed to pique the curiosity of young readers and draw appreciative smiles from adults."

In addition to creating original, self-illustrated texts, Radunsky, a former book designer, has also created art for books by writers as diverse as Edward Lear, Joseph Brodsky, and Woody Guthrie. In The Story of a Boy Named Will, Who Went Sledding down a Hill, a cumulative poem by Daniil Kharms, a youngster careens down a snowy slope, picking up an unlikely set of passengers along the way. Radunsky's "oil and acrylic paintings accentuate the hurtling motion," noted a Publishers Weekly contributor. A clown-like figure attempts to coax sound from more than a dozen musical instruments in The Maestro Plays, a story written by Bill Martin, Jr. Radunsky's "bright collage-style artwork is cleverly executed and deceptively simple," stated Booklist reviewer Ilene Cooper in an appraisal of Martin's book.

In 1992, Radunsky published his first self-illustrated work, Square, Triangle, Round, Skinny: Four Books in a Box, a book-length collaboration between the illustrator and his wife, Eugenia Radunsky. The pair also combine their talents on Yucka Drucka Droni, a tongue-twister about a trio of oddly named brothers who marry a trio of oddly named sisters. "The giddiness of the art speeds the momentum of the rhyme, spinning out its unabashedly silly pleasures," commented a Publishers Weekly critic. Radunsky has also teamed with Chris Raschka on Table Manners: The Edifying Story of Two Friends Whose Discovery of Good Manners Promises Them a Glorious Future. In the work, serious-minded Chester and his sidekick Dudunya discuss the finer points of etiquette. According to a contributor in Publishers Weekly, "Raschka's lissome brush strokes revel in free-spiritedness, and Radunsky's crazy-quilt collages and casual swats of paint lack even a trace of fussiness."

Inspired by a famous statue located in the city of Brussels, Belgium, Manneken Pis: A Simple Story of a Boy Who Peed on a War retells a Belgian legend. After a military battle moves into his town, a youngster becomes separated from his parents. Lonely and frightened, the boy also has to urinate; he climbs atop a wall and accidentally relieves himself on the combatants below; their shock and amazement quickly turn to laughter. "Radunsky tells the tale simply and well, so children will come away understanding the message of peace," noted Booklist reviewer Ilene Cooper. "It is hard to imagine anyone being able to pull this very odd offering off," a Kirkus Reviews critic stated, "but Radunsky manages to do just that."

Folk tales and tall tales are at the core of several other books by Radunsky. The Mighty Asparagus is based on an account of events that took place in sixteenth-century Russia, and, in folktale fashion, an armadillo couple become parents to a host of newborns in Ten: A Wonderful Story. Reviewing the author's self-illustrated book, Booklist contributor Michael Cart praised "the antic nature of Radunsky's collage art and the energetic, reckless way he places it on the page." In a sequel, titled One: A Nice Story about an Awful Braggart, baby armadillo number Six proves to be less than humble. A critic in Kirkus Reviews described the work as "another verbal and visual blast laced with silliness and affection."

In Radunsky's unusual picture book I Love You Dude, a blue elephant leaps off a wall of graffiti and embarks on a search for happiness. "This odd story of acceptance and finding one's place is accompanied by Radunsky's quirky artwork, expertly rendered in mixed media and collage," noted School Library Journal contributor Angela J. Reynolds in a review of the 2005 work, which features a text translated by Radunsky's wife.

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, February 1, 1998, John Peters, review of Yucka Drucka Droni, p. 923; November 1, 1994, Ilene Cooper, review of The Maestro Plays, p. 507; December 15, 1996, Michael Cart, review of Telephone, p. 729; June 1, 1997, Sue-Ellen Beauregard, review of The Maestro Plays, p. 1728; April 1, 1999, John Peters, review of An Edward Lear Alphabet, p. 1417; March 15, 2000, Gillian Engberg, review of Howdi Do, p. 1381; January 1, 2002, John Peters, review of Table Manners: The Edifying Story of Two Friends Whose Discovery of Good Manners Promises Them a Glorious Future, p. 867; October 15, 2002, Ilene Cooper, review of Manneken Pis: A Simple Story of a Boy Who Peed on a War, p. 413; November 15, 2002, Michael Cart, review of Ten: A Wonderful Story, p. 612; November 15, 2003, Terry Glover, review of One: A Nice Story about an Awful Braggart, p. 602; May 15, 2004, Jennifer Mattson, review of The Mighty Asparagus, p. 1620; November 1, 2004, Hazel Rochman, review of What Does Peace Feel Like?, p. 487; December 1, 2005, Hazel Rochman, review of I Love You Dude, p. 56; May 1, 2006, Michael Cart, review of "Fire! Fire!" Said Mrs. McGuire, p. 92.

Canadian Review of Materials, November 26, 1999, Janice Foster, review of Yucka Drucka Droni.

Entertainment Weekly, August 19, 1994, Michele Landsberg, review of The Maestro Plays, p. 74.

Horn Book, March-April, 1994, Lolly Robinson, review of The Story of a Boy Named Will, Who Went Sledding down the Hill, p. 191; March-April, 1995, Lolly Robinson, review of The Maestro Plays, p. 186; September-October, 2002, Roger Sutton, review of Manneken Pis, p. 557.

Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2002, review of Table Manners, p. 1431; July 1, 2002, review of Manneken Pis, p. 961; August 15, 2002, review of Ten, p. 1232; October 1, 2003, review of One, p. 1229; August 1, 2004, review of Boy Meets Girl/Girl Meets Boy, p. 748; November 1, 2004, review of What Does Peace Feel Like?, p. 1046; October 1, 2005, review of I Love You Dude, p. 1087; April 15, 2006, review of "Fire! Fire!" Said Mrs. McGuire, p. 410.

Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England), February 22, 2003, Janet Tansley, review of Manneken Pis, p. 138.

Publishers Weekly, September 28, 1990, review of Hail to Mail, p. 100; August 23, 1993, review of The Story of a Boy Named Will, Who Went Sledding down the Hill, p. 70; August 8, 1994, review of The Maestro Plays, p. 426; November 18, 1996, review of Telephone, p. 74; January 19, 1998, review of Yucka Drucka Droni, p. 376; February 16, 1998, interview with Radunsky, p. 119; April 26, 1999, review of An Edward Lear Alphabet, p. 81; October 18, 1999, review of Discovery, p. 80; March 27, 2000, review of Howdi Do, p. 79; August 28, 2000, review of Bling Blang, p. 82; October 29, 2001, review of Table Manners, p. 62; June 24, 2002, review of Manneken Pis, p. 55; September 23, 2002, review of Ten, p. 72; September 28, 1992, review of Square, Triangle, Round, Skinny: Four Books in a Box, p. 78; November 10, 2003, review of One, p. 60; May 10, 2004, review of The Mighty Asparagus, p. 58; June 14, 2004, Sally Lodge, "All Things Asparagus," p. 32; August 30, 2004, review of Boy Meets Girl/Girl Meets Boy, p. 53; December 20, 2004, review of What Does Peace Feel Like?, p. 57; August 29, 2005, review of I Love You Dude, p. 55; May 15, 2006, review of "Fire! Fire!" Said Mrs. McGuire, p. 70.

School Library Journal, June, 2000, Barbara Scotto, review of Howdi Do, p. 132; June, 2001, Martha Topol, review of My Dolly, p. 116; November, 2001, Kathleen Whalin, review of Table Manners, p. 134; September, 2002, Linda Ludke, review of Ten, p. 204; December, 2002, Melissa Yurechko, review of Manneken Pis, p. 106; October, 2003, Kathy Krasniewicz, review of One, p. 134; July, 2004, Liza Graybill, review of The Mighty Asparagus, p. 86; November, 2004, Marie Orlando, review of Boy Meets Girl/Girl Meets Boy, p. 116; January, 2005, Blair Christolon, review of What Does Peace Feel Like?, p. 113; October, 2005, Angela J. Reynolds, review of I Love You Dude, p. 125; June, 2006, Susan Weitz, review of "Fire! Fire!" Said Mrs. McGuire, p. 138.

New York Times Book Review, January 17, 1998, review of The Riddle, p. 28; December 16, 2001, review of Table Manners, p. 20; November 17, 2002, review of Ten, p. 45; September 11, 2005, Emily Jenkins, review of I Love You Dude, p. 18.

Sunday Times (London, England), February 16, 2003, Nicolette Jones, review of Manneken Pis, p. 47.

ONLINE

Vladimir Radunsky Home Page http://www.vladimirradunsky.com (January 25, 2007).