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Afternoon of the Elves

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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. No one ever sees her mother, and no one ...
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Overview

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. No one ever sees her mother, and no one is allowed in her house. Hillary wonders about these things, but it's her mother who realizes Sara-Kate needs more help than magic.

This enchanting story reveals the beauty, wonder and mystery that lies within the imagination....Ultimately, the book suggests that friendship is as eternal as magic. --Publishers Weekly

"This story, though deceptively simple, is filled with complexities that are hidden in the underbrush of the prose.--Booklist, starred review

"A fascinating portrayal of a manipulative yet touching friendship.--School Library Journal, starred review

As Hillary works in the miniature village, allegedly built by elves, in Sara-Kate's backyard, she becomes more and more curious about Sara-Kate's real life inside her big, gloomy house with her mysterious, silent mother.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Two girls discover an elfin village in "this enchanting story... that suggests friendship is as eternal as magic," said PW. Ages 9-13. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Dr. Judy Rowen
Sarah-Kate Connolly's backyard abuts Hillary's yard. Despite the proximity, Hillary had never played with Sarah-Kate before. No one did. Sarah-Kate is a bit odd, dressed in wrinkly clothes and greasy work boots. Now, Hillary has been invited into Sarah-Kate's yard to see the elf village. Sarah-Kate says elves built the tiny houses with maple leaf roofs. Soon, Hillary is drawn into the magic, as she is drawn to Sarah-Kate, drawn into a life so different from her own. Just as with the elves, things are not always what you expect. The book ends either in redemption or tragedy; it is left to the reader to decide. A very compelling tale that might inspire readers to think differently about social outcasts.
School Library Journal
Gr 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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780871299598
  • Publisher: Dramatic Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 8/1/2000
  • Pages: 66

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