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Children's Fiction Adaptations

The Queen of Paradise's Garden

A Newfoundland Jack Tale

by (author) Andy Jones

illustrated by Darka Erdelji

Running the Goat
Initial publish date
Mar 2019
Adaptations, Fantasy & Magic, Humorous Stories
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2019
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 5 to 12
  • Grade: k


Jack, the delightful, mischievous, big-hearted hero of so many Newfoundland tales, is worried about his parents. They aren't getting any younger; in fact, they're really quite old. So Jack and his brothers Bill and Tom decide to set out and find a magic fruit that will make the old young. 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 finds the magic fruit and quite a few other handy things as well. 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.

About the authors

An actor, writer, storyteller, and director, Andy Jones was born and raised in St. John's, Newfoundland. He worked with CODCO, both in theatre and on television, and with Sheila's Brush Theatre Troupe. He has written, performed, and toured five one-man shows; has performed in theatrical productions across Canada and on numerous television shows; and has appeared in such films as Extraordinary Visitor, The Adventures of Faustus Bidgood, and Rare Birds.

His on-going series of Jack tales, illustrated by Darka Erdelji, has been widely praised: The Queen of Paradise's Garden was named to the IYL's White Ravens List; Jack and the Manger received the 2012 Bruneau Family Award for Children's/Young Adult Literature; Jack and Mary in the Land of Thieves received the 2012 BMO Winterset Award and the 2014 Bruneau Family Award. Jack, the King of Ashes was nominated for the 2015 Ann Connor Brimer Award, the 2015 Governor-General's Literary Award for Illustrated Children's Book, and the 2016 Silver Birch Express Award. Jack and the Green Man has been shortlisted for the 2017/2018 Hackmatack Award.

With Philip Dinn, he is the author/adaptor, of Peg Bearskin, a folktale from Placentia Bay; the first edition of the book was shortlisted for the 2004/05 Hackmatack Award and named to the International Youth Library's prestigious White Ravens List. The book is being republished in a new edition, featuring all new illustrations and design, in February 2019.

Andy Jones' profile page

A native of Slovenia, Darka Erdelji received a Masters of Arts in Puppet Scenography from Prague's Akadmie Muzickych Umeni. She lived in St. John's for several years; during that time, she began collaborating with Andy Jones, first on their puppet play "The Queen of Paradise's Garden", and then on their acclaimed series of illustrated Jack tales. Darka currently lives in Maribor, Slovenia, and designs puppets for Lutkovno Gledalis—e Maribor, a state-of-the-art puppet theatre housed in a renovated medieval monastery. She has illustrated books in Canada and Slovenia.

Darka Erdelji's profile page


  • Short-listed, Bruneau Family Award for Children's Literature

Librarian Reviews

The Queen of Paradise’s Garden

The Queen of Paradise’s Garden is a traditional Newfoundland tale retold by Andy Jones and published by a “micro press” in Newfoundland. This small press did a lovely job. Andy Jones, a well-known storyteller, captures in writing the Newfoundland dialect, including patterned phrases, sparse descriptions, as well as unique spellings of words.

The story revolves around Jack, the youngest of three sons, who travels to the Queen of Paradise’s home and steals her enchanted fiddle, magic bread, and everlasting wine and fruit, which has the power to make the old young again. Despite his thievery, Jack is a generous soul and his compassion ends up saving him from the Queen of Paradise’s wrath, as well as helping a myriad of people along the way. Jack, a character that stars in a number of Newfoundland folktales, is an unlikely hero, being both poor and young, yet his kind-heart, perseverance, cleverness and courage set him apart from his brothers.

Darka Erdelji’s charming accompanying illustrations, mostly in blues and greens, have the feel of Stéphane Poulin’s early work. They consist of many spot illustrations and are slightly surrealistic. Erdelji is a puppeteer as well as an illustrator, and she and Andy Jones have put together a puppet show based on this book.

Because this tale is longer than a common picture book and is told in the oral tradition, I can see this book best read aloud to an older audience. For those readers who may be perplexed about the unusual language, there is a helpful explanation about the cadence and sentence style. This unique book is a worthy addition to any collection of folk or fairytales.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Summer 2009. Vol.32 No.3.

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