In a yarn based on songs and tales heard in Newfoundland and Labrador, a cocky young card shark takes on Greensleeves, the tricksy “grand vizier of all magicians.”
Having held a pack of cards practically since birth, Jack, known as “Jack o’ Hearts,” will play anyone—even the green man made of grass and nettles, lily pads, and wax beans who comes into the church hall one Twelfth Night. A win and a loss later, the green man declares that the tiebreaker for Jack’s life will be played at Greenchapel…wherever that might be. Left to find the way on his own, Jack charms his way past encounters with surly giants and other obstacles. Reaching the magician’s hideaway is only the start of Jack’s trials, as he finds himself tasked with climbing a “glassen pole” and other seemingly impossible feats. Luckily, Jack has an ally in Greensleeves’ youngest daughter, Ann (“dark skin, with a hint of green, and black black hair”), who is a powerful magician herself and furthermore willing to jump the broom with him if they can only escape her father’s wrath. Jones tells the latest in his series of eastern seaboard Jack tales with a confident lilt. Erdelji enhances its flow with ingenuously drawn scenes within broadly brushed circular borders and a tongue-in-cheek tone with marginal vignettes that resemble medieval graffiti.
A well-stirred, high-spirited medley of traditional elements. (long source note) (Folk tale. 9-11)