This illustrated tale is one of the many “Jack” tales from Newfoundland which have, according to the author’s notes, lived longer in speech than in print.

Andy Jones explains that the sentences and the style are more musical than grammatical and asks that readers attend to the “vivacity, intelligence, and the wit of generations of storytellers”.

If you love fairy and folk tales, you’ll love the vibrant illustrations of Darka Erdelji and the personable voice of the tale-teller in this slim volume.

It manages to feel both familiar and distinct and opens and closes with traditional phrases familiar to Newfoundland tale-spinners:

“Once upon a time, and a very good time it was, not in your time, indeed not in my time, but in olden times....” and “Now, when I left they were havin babies in basketfuls, and all they give me is a slipper and a glass. And I come all the way slidin on me ass.”

I read this one because I was encouraged by an interview on CBC's The Next Chapter; if you want to know about some of the other titles I've enjoyed that they've recommended, I bookchat about some others here.