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Afternoon Of The Elves (1999)

Afternoon of the Elves (1999)

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3.59 of 5 Votes: 3
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0698118065 (ISBN13: 9780698118065)

About book Afternoon Of The Elves (1999)

(My review as posted on for: Girls, Ages 8 and upOne Word Summary: Enchanting.From the book’s first sentence, “The afternoon Hillary first saw the elf village, she couldn’t believe her eyes,” you know exactly what to expect. You expect a book about a young girl, perhaps a bit of an elf skeptic, who finds herself in a world where elves leave traces of themselves for humans like her to find and study.What you may not expect is for the tale that follows to be so absorbing, so charming, so full of haunting imagery and lonely pain. You may not expect such delicate insight and a pitch-perfect description of the blossoming of an unlikely friendship. And you certainly may not expect that by the end of the book you too will find yourself wanting to believe in elves.Well, I suggest you revise your expectations and head for your nearest library.The last thing Hillary expected to find in the overgrown and junk-ridden backyard of her neighbor Sara-Kate was an elf village, but there it sat, tiny and perfect, with a circle of huts and a miniature well with an acorn cup for a bucket. At first Hillary thought it was made by mice or had some other explanation, but Sara-Kate, a gangly and awkward girl in men’s work boots who never played with the other kids, seemed to know so much about elves and the way they worked that Hillary found herself wondering if it was perhaps true.Each day, Sara-Kate would comb the backyard for a new sign of elfin handiwork: a bottle cap filled with water clearly used as an elf swimming pool, or an abandoned bicycle wheel with tiny seats, propped upright and slowly spinning in the air like a Ferris wheel. She would show them to Hillary, who found her excitement growing with each new discovery. Soon they were combing the knee-high weeds for signs together, and the more Sara-Kate taught her about the way elves live and work, the more Hillary began to notice similarities in Sara-Kate. Was it possible that Sara-Kate, with her miniature elfin wonderland, was in fact hiding a giant-sized secret? I read this book as a young child but didn’t rediscover it until a friend recently lent it to me after a nostalgic trip through her own childhood books. As far as discovering old treasures, this is a true delight. A Newbery Honor Book that deserves many additional honors, Afternoon of the Elves is a quick read for anyone who clapped loudest when Tinkerbell needed their help, or who still secretly believes their stuffed animals come to life when they leave the room. This kind of magic—in book form or in your backyard—is as rare as it is special.

This is the type of book that I would probably give to my child, if I was a mother.For its child audience, it took a serious topic and added a bit of magic to it. I'm glad the author gave the protagonist some doubts about reality. If she would have ignored this and made her completely blinded by her imagination, then I would have been disappointed.Overall, it was a cute read that forced me to self-reflect my childhood. Was there anything magical that enchanted me as a child? Did I reject reality when life hit me hard? Did I live in a delusional state? Does ignorance make childhood a simpler time?I do have complaints though, and some reasons why it didn't receive a full 5/5 stars.The beginning was a jumbled mess. I was really confused about where I was in the story. It wasn't the best of introductions.Also, I understand that gossip spreads like a disease and everything, but I cannot imagine the whole world teaming up against an 11 year old. (If this is a spoiler, I apologize. I am trying to avoid them, but already there's little to expand upon in this book.) Also, never once in my elementary school years did other kids have "designer jackets and bags." That part seemed unrealistic, and in effect, made the 9 year olds appear older than they actually were.

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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. Why doesn't anyone ever see Sara-Kate's mother? And why isn't anyone allowed in her house?
—Logan Braden

It's hard for me to be objective about AFTERNOON OF THE ELVES. I first read it as a child, when the Apple Signature edition came out. I was entranced by the cover, of two girls playing with a small carnival, the title, and the fact that "Apple Signature" sure sounded fancy.Reading it as an adult, it's a very simple story, but it introduces complex ideas in a way that's easy for kids to understand. Hillary makes friends with school outcast Sara-Kate Connelly when Sara-Kate invites her to see the elves in her backyard. Their afternoons together cause Hillary to rethink the way Sara-Kate is treated at school. At the same time, she discovers the secret behind Sara-Kate's strange clothes and food. Hillary has to decide what to do with her new knowledge. It's a story of personal responsibility, as well as knowing when to involve an adult.I wanted to review the Open Road edition because it promised new bonus material - a personal history, including photos and documents, by Janet Taylor Lisle. The history covers more of her life and career than AFTERNOON OF THE ELVES and may appeal to fans of her other works. However, it's probably of limited interest to the youngest readers of the book. AFTERNOON OF THE ELVES is a classic, so I am happy that it's been released in a nice ebook edition. It's nice to know that a new generation will have access to a title I loved so much.

Janet Taylor Lisle's book, [I]Afternoon of the Elves[/I], is an impressive "short" book. Very touching, too, as one realizes that the struggles that one of the heroines is going through. Sara-Kate, older than her backyard neighbor Hillary by two years, gradually draws Hillary into a friendship born of necessity and loneliness. Hillary resists a bit because Sara-Kate is ostracized by most of the girls their ages--her clothes are old and she looks unkempt. She is also disdainful of all the opinions others have of her. But, in Sara-Kate's backyard is something that Hillary is entranced with--an Elven village. And, maybe Sara-Kate isn't quite all human either--IS she an Elf?It's good to see both young heroines showing courage and ingenuity. The reader wishes the ending could be more positive for one of the girls, Sara-Kate, but the other, Hillary, offsets that by taking her own positive action in spite of the "normal" expectations fo society. Definitely good for Intermediate and older readers--to show that it's good to be your own person!

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