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Afternoon of the Elves [Paperback]

Janet Taylor Lisle
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 9.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

Nov. 11 2003 Novel
Hillary doesn't believe all the mean things she hears about Sara-Kate. Sure, she wears weird clothes and she lives in a dumpy house, but if Sara-Kate's as bad as everyone says, how could she take such good care of the elf village in her backyard? She and Hillary spend hours fixing the tiny stick houses and the miniature Ferris wheel so the elves won't move away. But as Hillary is drawn further into Sara-Kate's world, she learns there are other mysteries besides the elves. Why doesn't anyone ever see Sara-Kate's mother? And why isn't anyone allowed in her house? This updated edition will bring new life to Janet Taylor Lisle's best-selling novel.


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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

This enchanting story about friendship reveals the beauty, wonder and mystery that lies within the imagination. With rare talent, Lisle ( Sirens and Spies , The Great Dimpole Oak ) conveys a girl's vision of magic and truth through a montage of surreal images. Sara-Kate, the poorest, least reputable girl in school, invites Hillary home to see what the village elves have built in her yard. Among the overgrown weeds and piles of rubbish, Hillary discovers an incredible landscape filled with miniature houses. During the next few weeks, the girls work together to create their own additions to the village. Hoping to catch a glimpse of the tiny inhabitants, Hillary becomes more aware of her surroundings and eventually gains insight about her new friend. Then Hillary's mother learns about Sara-Kate's decrepit house and the girl's ailing mother, who lives upstairs. Sara-Kate is sent away to relatives in Kansas, her mother is placed in an institution, and only the village remains. Ultimately, the book suggests that friendship is as eternal as magic--even after Sara-Kate has left, her presence is still felt. Ages 9-11.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-6-- A fascinating portrayal of a manipulative yet touching friendship. Nine-year-old Hillary lives in comfortable suburbia with her parents. In the house behind lives tough, independent Sara-Kate. Her father's gone, her sick mother hides, she dresses like an urchin, and is despised and mocked at school. However, Hillary stumbles on Sara-Kate's secret; she tends a tiny village in her weed-filled back yard, a village where she says elves live. Hillary is fascinated, and in helping her neighbor maintain the village, gradually becomes closer to Sara-Kate despite her school friends' disdain and parental disapproval. She starts not only to believe in elves, but also to wonder if Sara-Kate is not one herself. The ambiguous clues as to whether Sara-Kate is really an elf or just a disturbed child are so well wrought that readers will be as uncertain as Hillary. The children's emotions and behavior are believable and authentic, depicted clearly without over-explaining, especially Hillary's inner conflict. Lisle captures the subtlety of childhood feelings and perceptions, while maintaining a language and style accessible to average readers. Hillary grows from a bland follower to someone who knows that it is she, ultimately, who must make up her mind, despite the opinions of those around her, and perhaps become a little like all that was good in Sara-Kate herself. --Annette Curtis Klause, Montgomery County Department of Public Libraries, MD
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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The afternoon Hillary first saw the elf village, she couldn't believe her eyes. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not Great Feb. 25 2004
Format:Paperback
A fiercely poor Sara-Kate claims that elves live in her garden. Hillary chooses to accept the fantasy and the friendship, but at a cost.
Despite the Newberry Honour, this is a good, not great book, and lovers of fantasy should note that it is really more about friends than fairies, and it is a relatively dark work, not whimsical or lighthearted. Nonetheless, it's an interesting and enjoyable, if not particularly indelible read.
Note: a 3 star ranking from me is actually pretty good; I reserve 4 stars for tremendously good works, and 5 only for the rare few that are or ought to be classic; unfortunately most books published are 2 or less.
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By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I wasn't sure what to make of this book after I finished reading it. I think it makes big statements about social conditions and imagination vs. reality that, judging from the reviews posted here, younger readers do not quickly pick up on.
I am still filled with conflicting emotions about the end of this book. Clearly, it was necessary for the authorities to intervene and take Sara-Kate and her mother away. But the author seems to condemn this action, looking through the eyes of Hillary, who tries to persuade her mother that Sara-Kate would have been just fine had she been left alone in her broken-down home and property, stealing and lying to stay alive. There seems to be an elevation of a child's imagination (taken to extremes) over reality; that somehow Hillary's perspective was right and that of the adults was wrong.
I also seemed to pick up on a dark note at the very end with the line about Hillary seeming to have "disappeared." It's almost as if Sara-Kate's elf world sucked Hillary in so effectively that she was destined to "become" Sara-Kate herself--distant, cold, manipulative, and blinded by her fantasies. A disconnection from the real world seemed to have taken place.
Now, I have focused on the negative aspects in this book. It does indeed contain elements of freshness, spark, and a healthy dose of imaginative playfulness. But I found the story to be more haunting than refreshing, more disillusioning than enlightening. This book is very well-written, but strange. Just strange.
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5.0 out of 5 stars review Jan. 26 2003
By Jackie
Format:Paperback
This is a wonderful book that will stay with you long after you read it. As a child I was enchanted by the descriptions of the elves tiny houses. A book that comes alive in so many ways, it's the answer to any whimsical child's reading needs.
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5.0 out of 5 stars What a Good Book Jan. 2 2003
By piggy
Format:Paperback
Afternoon Of The Elves is a mysterious book about a girl named Sara Kate who is very poor and has an elf village in her backyard. Sara Kates neighbor Hilary is very curious about the little houses in Sara Kates backyard. During the Story Sara Kate and Hilary become friends.Sara Kates mother is very old. This book is very magical. I reccomend this book to everyone. Dont judge a book by its cover. I hope you will enjoy this book as much as I did.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An enchanting story filled with magic and exciment April 26 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This book was a wonderful story that had me dreaming about it every night. Nine year-old Hillery Loxanne is invited over her next-door neighbor's house to play. Sounds like an ordinary day, right? Well it's not so normal when you live next to the weirdest
girl,or family in town.Sara-Kate Colonne is the eleven year-old who lives with her mom who is "always sick".A tiny, delicate village is found in Sara-Kate's junky over grown yard.Who could have made it? Sara-Kate believs it's elves.There's nothing special about her,but maybe the elves saw something that maybe Hillery could see to in Sara-Kate.This book will have you dreaming about enchanting and thrilling things that will have you fall in love with this book just as I have.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The king of my favorite books Jan. 2 2002
Format:Paperback
I love this book because it was so good. I can't actually tell if it was a sad ending or a happy ending. You can't ever hate this book because it has a great (or the greatest) plot. The first part of the book was Hilary and her best friends hates Sarah-Kate. but Hilary is beginning to like her. Sara-Kate had found elves building houses. Hilary was the only one who can go over and look. but her friends don't agree...
So, read the book to find out!
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4.0 out of 5 stars 12 year old reader from KY Dec 18 2001
Format:Hardcover
11 year old, Sara-Kate, and 9 year old, Hillary, find there lives full of magic and suspense as they work on the mysterious elf village. Hillary finds herself walking slowly up the stairs of Sara-Kates house. When she gets there she sees a light flowing from beneath the door. She walks toward the door to find... well you will have to find that out for yourself. Later on in the book Hillary begins to be really good friends with Sara-Kate. They were at a party at Sara-Kate's house when Hillary asked her if she was an elf, but before she could answer there was a knock on the door. This is a wonderful book that teaches you that you can be friends with any one. It doesn't matter how different they are from you. All in all, I recommend this this book to people who believe in fairytales.
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4.0 out of 5 stars 12 year old reader from KY Dec 18 2001
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
11 year old, Sara-Kate, and 9 year old, Hillary, find there lives full of magic and suspense as they work on the mysterious elf village. Hillary finds herself walking slowly up the stairs of Sara-Kates house. When she gets there she sees a light flowing from beneath the door. She walks toward the door to find... well you will have to find that out for yourself. Later on in the book Hillary begins to be really good friends with Sara-Kate. They were at a party at Sara-Kate's house when Hillary asked her if she was an elf, but before she could answer there was a knock on the door. This is a wonderful book that teaches you that you can be friends with any one. It doesn't matter how different they are from you. All in all, I recommend this this book to people who believe in fairytales.
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