Jack and Mary in the Land of Thieves finds Jack, that everyman of folktales, married to his sweetheart Mary, the best woman ever born and a mighty fine baker to boot. Their lives are as happy and successful as can be, until an underhanded sea captain and Jack’s own bragging get the better of our hero. Jack is sent the once to work on Slave Islands and Mary is turned out of house and home. But Mary is resolute and resourceful, and has plans to find Jack and restore their fortunes.
Inspired by several traditional and classic works, including Shakespeare’s Cymbeline, the medieval tale of Frederick of Jennen, and the Newfoundland story “Jack and the Slave Islands,” Andy Jones has crafted a funny, moving, and delightfully original story about love, treachery, perseverance, and cherry cake.
With a hidden key, a storm at sea, and a singing mynah bird named Baxter who carries more than his share of tunes, Jack and Mary in the Land of Thieves will delight youngsters and oldsters alike.
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 in numerous television shows and films.
He is the author/adaptor, with Philip Dinn, of Peg Bearskin, a folktale from Placentia Bay, which was shortlisted for the 2004/05 Hackmatack Award and named to the International Youth Library’s prestigious White Ravens List; the book has recently been re-issued with new illustrations and in a new design.
His on-going series of Jack tales, illustrated by Darka Erdelji and designed by Veselina Tomova, has been much lauded: The Queen of Paradise’s Garden was named to the IYL’s White Ravens List, and was shortlisted for the 2010 Bruneau Family Award and the 2010 Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage and History Award; Jack and the Manger, a re-telling of the Christmas story as if it were a Newfoundland folktale, received the 2012 Bruneau Family Award for Children’s/Young Adult Literature and was shortlisted for the 2012 NL Heritage and History Award; 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, the fifth book in this series, was shortlisted for the 2017/2018 Hackmatack Award, and included in the Canadian Children's Book Centre's Best Books for Kids & Teens.
His previous audiobook Letters from Uncle Val was produced by Rattling Books in 2006.
In 2019, Jones was named to the Order of Canada in recognition of his contributions to the literature and culture of Newfoundland and Labrador.
“The bardic, original voice of Andy Jones in another of his word perfect Jack tales gives us a world away from now, a world that celebrates Newfoundland’s sailing history, song, and the art of storytelling itself. Mary is a strong, resilient, unforgettable character and through her cunning, teaches Jack a lesson. Jones never once allows his tale to fall into any kind of didacticism. Instead, his use of humour, sensory detail, language, and adept narrative twists in the structure of his tale makes Jack and Mary In the Land of Thieves a book that does what classics do – appeals to an audience of young and old alike. With this book, Jones defines the kind of excellence C.S. Lewis believed in when he wrote: I am almost inclined to set it up as a canon that a children’s story which is enjoyed only by children is a bad children’s story. The good ones last.” — Jury’s statement for 2014 Bruneau Family Award (one of the Newfoundland and Labrador Book Awards)
“It is a great pleasure to listen to Andy Jones tell a story, and, happily, his printed stories fill you with the same hushed anticipation from the first sentence. To read this book aloud is to become a storyteller.… A worthy follow-up to the acclaimed Jack and the Manger, which won the NL children’s literature award, and The Queen of Paradise’s Garden…” — Alison Mews, in Canadian Review of Materials