cover image Yucka Drucka Droni

Yucka Drucka Droni

Vladimir Radunsky. Scholastic, $15.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-590-09837-3

With a burst of brio and a parade of eye-popping collages, the Radunskys take a tongue-twister from Eastern Europe (and with Danish variants as well) and turn it into a full-scale absurdist saga. ""Three brothers, Yuck,/ and Yucka-Druck,/ and Yucka-Drucka-Droni,/ Lived peacefully among themselves,/ One fat, one tall, one scrawny."" The brothers meet and marry three sisters (Zippa, Zippa-Drippa and Zippa-Drippa-Limpomponi), and each couple produces a child (Shuck, Shuck-Shuckmut and Shuck-Shuckmut-Shuckmoni). In the tradition of successful nonsense, the quirky verse is easily memorized, and, under this husband-and-wife team's direction, fanned into carefree cultural overlap. Vladimir Radunsky's (Telephone; Hail to Mail) singular illustrations show the siblings with Asian, African and Eastern European faces, sharing a baroque castle of cut-paper collage. A bold graphic sense fortifies eccentric but well-aimed combinations of wild color, stark shapes and such furbelows as the introduction of lace (for a bride's headdress) or a photo of a Greek amphora doctored to include a door and window. The giddiness of the art speeds the momentum of the rhyme, spinning out its unabashedly silly pleasures. Ages 3-6. (Mar.)