Author(s): Jakob Wegelius
This is the story of a gorilla like no other. This is the story of a fantastic voyage across the world, from the Congolese rainforest to the grand bazaar of Istanbul, from Borneo to London, Singapore and beyond.
The story of a mysterious jewel thief and a sad sailor with a heart of gold.
A story of friendship and adventure on the high seas.
This is the story of Sally Jones.
I adored Wegelius’ wonderful multi-layered modern “classic” The Murderer’s Ape, about the adventures of two ship engineers – a Finnish sailor called Koskela (the Chief) and a gorilla named Sally Jones, who moves among humans without speaking but understands everything. So I have been hanging out for the prequel, The Legend of Sally Jones, to find out about the origins of this clever and kind-hearted near-human. But anyone expecting another 600-page volume might be a bit disappointed. Instead The Legend of Sally Jones is a 108-page “picture book” that’s more in the form of a one-panel graphic book.
Sally Jones’ Roots story, it begins with her birth in the African rain forest, amid a prophecy that she would meet with many misfortunes in life. And so she does. We follow Sally Jones’ catalogue of adventures as she is sold to a Turkish ivory merchant, trained to steal jewels, locked in a zoo, exhibited in a circus as a Murderous Ape and suffers cruelty from her numerous “owners”. Then she meets the Chief while stowing away on a merchant ship and he saves her from being tossed overboard. But there are many more escapades and periods of misery before justice is served and the two are reunited.
Wegelius’ detailed illustrations of the exotic locations are stunning, often featuring lavish frames that give the impression of early 20th century postcards or cigarette cards. Rather than being a prequel, this beautiful gift book is more of a companion to The Murderer’s Ape, and it doesn’t matter which order they are read in. The back story of this remarkable and lovable heroine will delight anyone who read the first book but I’d still love to read another novel featuring more adventures of this intrepid pair.
Another gripping Sally Jones adventure - the gorgeously illustrated, prizewinning prequel to The Murderer's Ape.
Jakob Wegelius is a Swedish writer and illustrator who lives and works in the small village of Mortfors. In Sweden, he was awarded the August Prize for Best Children's Book and the Nordic Council Children and Young People's Literature Prize for The Murderer's Ape, which is also an International Youth Library White Raven selection.