Jack, the King of Ashes

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9 x 9
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Publication date:
October, 2014
For readers:
6 to 12
Juvenile Fiction:
Fairy Tales & Folklore / Adaptations

Jack, the King of Ashes

by Andy Jones
with illustrations by Darka Erdelji

Shortlisted for the 2015 Governor General’s Award for Illustrated Children’s Book
Shortlisted for the 2016 Silver Birch Express Award
Shortlisted for the 2015 Ann Connor Brimer Award
Shortlisted for the 2015 Newfoundland and Labrador History and Heritage Book Award

“Jack is a robber, and he’s about to make away with your heart!”
— Lisa Moore, author of Caught and February

Award-winning storyteller Andy Jones and illustrator Darka Erdelji have joined forces again, in the wake of their highly acclaimed book Jack & Mary in the Land of Thieves, to produce what may be their finest collaboration yet:  Jack, the King of Ashes is another riotously funny Jack tale that is as moving as it is hilarious.

This time Jack, the “King of Ashes,” spends all his time hove off in the coal box, until one day he shakes off his ashes and sets out on an adventure that includes sneaky robbers, a “famous missing princess with reward attached,” an always-surprising canine sidekick, a royal wedding, a lovelorn rooster-puppet, a conniving ship’s captain, corpses, curses, kisses, a coat and a whole lot more!

Steeped in Newfoundland folk tradition, Jack, the King of Ashes shows Jones at the top of his form. His quirky and delightful humour is unstoppable. Erdelji’s illustrations offer a wonderful, witty counterpoint to the story, enriching and embellishing it.

What folks are saying

"If you can’t join this great Newfoundland yarnspinner in the cabin of a schooner, listening to stories and songs by lantern light, then reading his hilarious Jack tales runs a pretty strong second. Andy Jones rolls his newest Jack tale along with cinematic energy, reveling in the choice sounds of Newfoundland English as Jack leaves his coal box behind en route to finding a kingdom of his own. I loved Jack’s canine sidekick Kevin-Phonse (Kevin-Phonse?!!!), part Sancho Panza and part Greek Chorus, who speaks ESL as he comments on Jack’s misadventures. Darka Erdelji’s illustrations dance alongside the story in delightfully perceptive ways."
– Dan Yashinsky, founder of the Toronto Storytelling Festival, and author of Suddenly They Heard Footsteps: Storytelling for the Twenty-first Century, and Swimming With Chaucer: A Storyteller’s Logbook

 "What’s a Jack tale? Take folk tales, fairy tales, poetry, epic adventure and add magic, comedy, tragedy, mythology, “boo-hooin and hulaballoin”. A Jack tale is a multi-layered yarn starring the inimitable, incorrigible Jack, a character you’ll “fall deeper and deeper and deeper in love with as time whittles away” because Andy Jones is a storytelling genius and the caretaker of a vibrant oral tradition. Jones translates authentic speakin’ words onto the page with a meticulous, joyful use of language in every Jack tale. Readers from two to one hundred and two will be captivated.

In Jack, the King of Ashes, when Jack sets his sights on finding Princess Frederica Marie Corella Van Vee Van Vettum (yes, b’y, the language and cadence is that sweet and perfect), we travel willing with Jack and his trusty dog Kevin-Phonse. The story nests inside story nests inside story – the book is structurally perfect as a Matryoshka doll.

Complemented by Darka Erdelji’s exquisite, playful illustrations, this book achieves the excellence Bruno Bettelheim wrote of in his classic book The Uses of Enchantment: ‘The delight we experience when we allow ourselves to respond to a fairy tale, the enchantment we feel, comes not from the psychological meaning of the tale (although this contributes to it) but from its literary qualities – the tale itself is a work of art.’

Jack is a piece of work all right – and every Jack tale by Andy Jones is a work of art."
– Sheree Fitch, author of There Were Monkeys in My Kitchen, Sleeping Dragons All Around, If You Could Wear My Sneakers, Mabel Murple and many more 

"Jack, the King of Ashes is an epic adventure, full to the gills with whizgiggin and puppeteers, shadow shows, and evil sous-chefs, kindly ghosts, a magical rope with knots to untie and a dashing young hero looking to tie the knot. Prose full of humour and wisdom, so fast-paced its feet don’t touch the ground. And illustrations, bold and delicate, lyrical and full of fancy. Jack is a robber, and he’s about to make away with your heart!"
– Lisa Moore, author of Caught and February