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by Andy Jones
with illustrations by Darka Erdelji
Winner 2012 Bruneau Family Award for Children’s/Young Adult Literature
Shortlisted for the 2012 Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage and History Award
...and before you know it there were people going up and down every road in the land from where they was at, a'wards where they was born to.
And walkin down one of those roads was a very famous person. You probably know the name - yes, that's right, his name was Jack, and he was from a town called the Mount of Pearls, which was just outsida Bethlehem.
Jack and the Manger retells the story of Jesus’s birth as if it were a Newfoundland folktale. It’s all seen through the eyes of Jack, the hero of many a story, who befriends a young couple on their walk to Bethlehem. There’s a bit of ‘angel talk’, some gravel pit camping, an edge-of-your-seat birth drama, and the low-down on how Caesar Augustus’s ‘count-and-tax plan’ brought them all together. It’s a down-to-earth version of a heavenly tale.
Gentle, playful and very funny, Jack and the Manger is the second in an on-going series of Jack tales, combining the talents of Andy Jones, one of Newfoundland’s finest storytellers and actors, and Darka Erdelji, one of its most distinctive artists. It was a Christmas sensation in St. John’s when it was first published, and is sure to please even the most Grinch-like of readers.
Erdelji, whose illustrations for The Queen of Paradise’s Garden were widely praised, captures the sly wit, intelligence and great heartedness of Jones’s tale in her pictures once again.
Jack and the Manger is a fine Christmas tale for young and old alike.
The book was designed by Veselina Tomova of Vis-à-Vis Graphics, St. John’s, and printed by The Lowe-Martin Group in Ottawa, Ontario.
It was originally available in two offset-printed versions: a trade paperback and a hard cover edition.
It is now available in paperback only.
What folks are saying:
The story is narrated as though it were a Newfoundland folk tale, with all the particularities of local speech and lore. Illustrations, by Slovenian-born Darka Erdelji, are especially memorable; they bring a child's open-eyed sense of wonder to this quirky retelling.
~ Tali Folkins, in Anglican Journal
The usual Christmas story of Bethlehem, shepherds and stars has taken an unexpected turn. Such is only to be expected when it is being told by Andy Jones. Jones has performed the traditional Jack Tales for years, and recently debuted the stories in print with The Queen of Paradise’s Garden. There, as here, Jones’ words are compellingly illustrated by Darka Erdelji’s colourful and expressionistic images.
~ Joan Sullivan, in The Newfoundland Quarterly
Everyone needs joy and beauty at Christmas, and this latest Jack tale supplies both in abundance.
~ Jean Graham, in The Northeast Avalon Times
The Christmas nativity story has been set in Canada before–notable examples are The Huron Carol and Kurelek’s A Northern Nativity–but never has it been combined with a folktale character, set in outport Newfoundland, and served up with such cunning craft.
~ Alison Mews, in Canadian Review of Materials