The Queen of Paradise's Garden
Once upon a time, and a very good time it was, not in your time, indeed not in my time, but in olden times, when quart bottles held half a gallon and houses were papered with pancakes and pigs run about with forks stuck in their backs seein who wanted a slice o’ ham, there were two old people and they never had no children, and they figured they were too old to ever have any.
- Named to the International Youth Library’s 2010 White Ravens List
- Shortlisted for the 2010 Bruneau Family Award for Children’s/Young Adult Literature
So begins Andy Jones’s wonderful adaptation of a traditional Newfoundland tale. Of course, it’s clear from the story’s beginning that there are children on the way, and one of those children is Jack, the delightful, mischievous, big-hearted hero of so many Newfoundland tales. Told with the humour, warmth and sly wit that have made Andy Jones one of the Island’s finest and best-loved storytellers,The Queen of Paradise’s Garden follows Jack on his way to the land of the Queen of Paradise, where he searches for a magic fruit to make his parents young again, and finds quite a few other handy things as well.
The story is a free adaptation of a tale told by Albert Heber Keeping of Grand Bank, which he got from Billy Quann of Sagona Island; Keeping’s version was published in Halpert and Widdowson’s seminal collection, Folktales of Newfoundland.
Darka Erdelji has created stunning illustrations for the story. Erdelji’s artwork is at once otherworldly, wistful and playful; it adds a wonderful dimension to an already engaging story.
The book was designed by Veselina Tomova of Vis-à-Vis Graphics, St. John’s.
What folks are saying
"Jones’s retelling effectively captures the rhythms of oral storytelling and the cadences of Newfoundland dialect. Illustrator Darka Erdelji’s illustrations are a fine match. Enchanting, magical, and very skillful, they blend rich, evocative blues, greens, and reds, delicate line drawings in black and white, and rough, folk-art representations of the characters. All in all, a wonderful, rollicking tale." – Carlyn Zwarenstein, starred review in Quill & Quire
"Andy Jones and Darka Erdelji, along with small press publisher Marnie Parsons and designer Veselina Tomova, have created a marvellous book that deserves a place in every school, library and folktale collection." – Alison Mews, in Canadian Review of Materials (highly recommended)
"The reteller is writer and actor Andy Jones, a founding member of Newfoundland’s CODCO troupe. With this provenance, you might expect something original and quite fine; you won’t be disappointed." – Susan Perren, in The Globe and Mail