Saturday, March 21, 2009

Andy Jones' adaptation of The Queen of Paradise's Garden Reviewed in the Globe

Among several new childrens books reviewed this week by Susan Perren is the latest release from Running the Goat Books.

This week: Useful ducks and fine frogs
Globe and Mail Update
March 20, 2009

Adapted by Andy Jones, illustrated by Darka Erdelji, Running the Goat Books and Broadsides, 44 pages, $18.95, ages 6 and up

Even the endpapers of this book — faded flowery wallpaper studded with ancient family photographs — are a delight to the eye. Surreal watercolours of this and that — birds in a tree, strange human figures — dot the book, fine illustrations for a delectable retelling of a fine old Newfoundland tale.

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.
In the fine old folk tale/fairy tale tradition, this story involves three brothers who, alarmed by their parents' rapid aging, leave home in search of a magic fruit that will reverse the decline. They're told by "Old Blind Pew" that such a thing exists, but "it only exists in the Queen of Paradise's garden, and that is three miles this side of the end of the world."

It probably won't come as any surprise to hear that Jack, the least likely brother, the kind brother, conquers all. What he conquers is told in a most satisfactory and satisfying way, in the sprightliest, most musical prose, Newfoundlandese in which nary a "g" can be found danglin' from the end of a word.

Read the rest of Susan Perren's article here.