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Afternoon Of The Elves

3.6  ·  Rating Details ·  1,930 Ratings  ·  179 Reviews
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.
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published September 1st 1989 by Scholastic (first published January 1st 1989)
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Caitlintobin
I had high hopes for this books because it is a Newbery Honor. Overall, I thought it was depressing and did not offer any kind of satisfactory conclusion for Sara-Kate. Hillary, the main character, who befriends Sara-Kate is blind to all of the problems Sara-Kate has (hence her willingness to believe in the elf village in the backyard). I felt Hillary was too naive, and I did not like the fact that Sara-Kate is neglected for so long and no one notices.
Linda Lipko
This 1990 Newbery Honor award winner, is hauntingly complex.

Hillary is a child of comfortable middle class who is curious about Sara Kate, the neighbor girl who wears raggedy clothes, sporadically attends school and lives in a dilapidated house.

The story becomes darker as Hillary is enticed to explore Sara Kate's magical elfin village, complete with tiny houses of autumn leaves for roofs, bottle caps used for swimming pools and teeny stones for bitty lawn ornaments.

When the little village become
...more
Ashton
Dec 26, 2011 Ashton rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was an OK read for me - I liked it, but I didn't like it. I liked some of the issues it presented, but what I never like in a book is confusing the reader. Reading this book as an adult was probably different than reading it as a kid, but I wouldn't really feel like handing it to any 9-12 year old I know. I think some of it was judgmental despite the main story line - accepting and befriending someone even though most people make fun of them. It also never shows any kind of concluding discu ...more
Thecritic
Sarah Kate has elves in her yard. She acts weird. Hillary thinks she acts like an elf.
Becca
Jan 14, 2012 Becca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(My review as posted on www.therustykey.com.)

Recommended for: Girls, Ages 8 and up

One 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 abs
...more
Cher
Mar 04, 2009 Cher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Afternoon of the Elves is a delicate yet complex story of the friendship between two young girls: Hilary, who is a 9 year old, sweet and secure child and Sara-Kate who is a social outcast due to impoverishment. Sara-Kate lives with her ailing and incapacitated mother; her father is gone and occasionally sends money—however it alone is not enough to keep her and her mother from destitution. Sara-Kate introduces Hilary to a tiny, whimsical village in her weed-filled back yard, a village where she ...more
Lauren
Oct 19, 2015 Lauren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, young-adult
I first read this book in fourth or fifth grade, because I was obsessed with everything magic-related. Elves, fairies, goblins, unicorns, etc. The cover art is still so evocative. Reading it for a second time much later in life gave me a better understanding of the more complicated social themes that went over my head when I read it as a child. This is one of those books that is worth a re-read as an adult when you have some class consciousness and perspective on your own childhood.

I will say, h
...more
Logan Braden
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 ...more
L. Swan
Mar 09, 2013 L. Swan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a great book about a little girl named Hillary who visits a neighbors back yard where she finds an elf village Sara-Kate owner of the yard invites Hillary over every day to work on it but even though i loved this book iy had a sad ending and it left me hanging at the end too but i still reccomend this book very much.
Allen Henderson
This is about a strange little girl, Sara-Kate, who entices a neighbor, Hillary, to become her friend through the mystery of an "elf village" in her run down back yard. It turns out that Sara-Kate's mother is ill and they are very poor. Against the odds and reason, Hillary is drawn to Sara-Kate and her backyard. In the end, Hillary's mom discovers how sick Sara-Kate's mother is and gets them help. Unfortunately, this help involves Sara-Kate leaving to live with relatives and her house being repa ...more
K.D. Reed
Jan 21, 2017 K.D. Reed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Magical and relevant.
Writing/Style: 4/4
Characters: 3/4
Story: 4/4
Pacing: 4/4
Ending: 2/4
Total: 17/20
My favorite thing about this story wasn't the elves. Which, surprised me. What got me was the message about those on the outskirts. Mental illness. Disability. Poverty. "Broken" families. That's what this book is about. It spoke truth. I did feel the end didn't quite give me the closure I prefer. I was really wanting a little more solid knowledge of what happened, instead of what "may have" happene
...more
Mel Foster
Jan 03, 2017 Mel Foster rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
What I found most intriguing about this book was the question of whether a child left to herself is better or worse off than one who is helicoptered and "socialized." I was reminded of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. Other parts of the story I wasn't so excited about. The author I thought was overly verbose. The reader of this particular audio was generally overly sharp in her character portrayal of Sara-Kate. There were some moral issues that asked for ...more
Cat
Feb 04, 2017 Cat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know how I could have missed this one.... Well, I've discovered it now and am glad I did. Endearing and thoughtful little story. Elves really have little to do with the story, I think, as much as it does about a well off child and her neighbor, a poverty stricken child who become friends over an elf village in the poor girls backyard. The story wasn't what I expected, but I found it intriguing enough to finish. Quick, easy read. 5th grade up- YAs ad adults may enjoy it, too.
Katie Fitzgerald
This review also appears on my blog, Read-at-Home Mom.

Sara-Kate Connolly is in fifth grade for the second time, and everyone, including fourth graders, like Hillary, knows to stay away from her. Her house is dark and dilapidated, and the yard is overgrown with brush. Plus, Mrs. Connolly never comes out of the house. It’s not safe to play at the Connollys’ house, and Hillary’s mom would prefer that she didn’t. The only thing is, Sara-Kate has an elf village in her backyard. She invites Hillary ov
...more
The Rusty Key
Sep 29, 2011 The Rusty Key rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reviewed by Rusty Key Writer: Becca Worthington

Recommended for: Girls, Ages 8 and up

One 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 a
...more
Becky
Feb 16, 2014 Becky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014reviews
I enjoyed reading Afternoon of the Elves. At its heart, the novel is simply about an unlikely friendship, and how that friendship impacts the two girls. Sara-Kate is the oldest of the girls. She does not have any friends at school. She is not exactly invisible, but, her real self is not seen by anyone. If Sara-Kate were successfully invisible at school, perhaps the girls would not go to so much trouble to talk about her all the time, to tell of scandalous doings, to share every rumor, perhaps to ...more
Maggie Lin
Jan 05, 2016 Maggie Lin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about friendship between two girl. One of the girls name Hillary Lenox, she's nine years old. She is a nice and kind girl, she is well liked at the school. Another girl named Sara Kate, she is the opposite of the Hillary Lenox. Sara Kate is the meanest girl in the school, no one in the school liked her. Her hair was messes, she wear unmatched clothes, and big work boot. One day of the afternoon, they meet each other at Sara Kate's back yard. Sara Kate show Hillary Lenox the Elves Vi ...more
Aziza Oueslati
Aziza Oueslati
PR: 2nd
“Afternoon Of The Elves”
By Janet Taylor Lisle
122 Pages


In this story the main characters are Sara-Kate and Hillary. Sara-Kate is eleven years old, and she is described as badly dressed with blond stringy hair, and she was always in trouble. Hillary is the opposite; she is nicely dressed and very polite. In the beginning Sara-Kate and Hillary aren’t close, until Sara-Kate introduces Hillary to her elves, but Hillary didn’t believe her because the elves were to shy to come
...more
Jenna Anderson
Feb 05, 2013 Jenna Anderson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
This book was originally published in 1989 and awarded the Newbery Honor in 1990. I can see why. What a beautiful and wonderful story.

I'd like to thank NetGalley and Open Road for Young Readers for the review copy of this title.

Hillary is a popular 4th grade girl with proper clothes and many friends. Sara-Kate is her neighbor who lives down the hill. Sara-Kate was held back a grade, acts strangely, has no friends, and is far too small and skinny for her age.

The reader follows these two girls as
...more
Nerija
Back when I wrote my first Nostalgic Review, I mentioned that Zilpha Keatley Snyder’s The Changeling had a similar story line. I used to think Snyder’s story was a re-interpretation of Lisle’s, but in fact it’s the other way around, since The Changeling was published in 1970. Not that Lisle was necessarily conscious of the similarities — she describes her inspiration coming from an actual little village a neighbor’s daughter made in her yard — but just reading the jacket summary set the wild ech ...more
Gale
MAGIC CAN BEGIN TO CHANGE THINGS!

Someone is building a village for elves in Sara-Kate's junky backyard--could it really be that she has Elves back there? Nextdoor Hillary just has to find out and is fascinated inspite of herself. She wants to be socially correct and her somewhat snobby girlfriends at school shun the trashy girl and her recluse mother. But Hillary is torn between her fancy friends who sneer at Sarta-Kate's pedigree and her own delight in the possibility of Elves as neighbors.

So-
...more
Siskiyou-Suzy
Afternoon of the Elves is really interesting, and I'm not totally sure it's actually appropriate for children. In a way, I think the message is something about looking for magic among the neglected -- this book shuns prejudice. But it also seems to shun order and responsible care, and then you start to wonder: is this book really suggesting that the neglectful, wild of, well, poverty is superior to the cozy and safe world of economic comfort? Certainly there are people that think so. But if it i ...more
Liviania
Sep 08, 2012 Liviania rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Christy
Nov 14, 2011 Christy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 Hil...moreHillary doesn't believe all the mean things she hears about Sara-Kate. Sure, she wears weird clothes and she lives in ...more
Jenna (Falling Letters)
Originally posted 31 December 2012 on Falling Letters.

***

One of my earliest favourite books (from when I was six or seven, probably) is The Lost Flower Children. I thought it a delightful little tale, but for some reason I never picked up the author's other books. I decided it was about time, and I blazed through this one. I'm glad I did not read it as a child. I would have been highly disappointed to find there were actually no fairies in it. I was still disappointed! But at my age I was able t
...more
Tanya
I have mixed feelings about this one. I read it because my daughter is completing a local library challenge and one of the topics is about mental illness of a character. So I looked at various books available in our local library that are targeted for pre-teens. This won a Newberry Honor, so I thought it would be the first one for me to read before making a suggestion to my daughter. I think adults reading this will see the tragedy more clearly than the kids will, but I still worry that this one ...more
Allison (Bookish Geek)
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
...more
Laura
Jun 24, 2015 Laura rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Karen
Feb 02, 2012 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 opinion ...more
Josiah
Apr 18, 2009 Josiah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of the issues that are tackled in this book remind me of other Newbery Honor and Medal winners, but there is much about this story that is very original.
I liked the flow of the words and the way that the relationship between Hillary and Sara-Kate is never certain; it seemed that anything might happen between the two. Sara-Kate is definitely somewhat enigmatic, and it was a real joy for me to watch as Hillary figures out that friendship is worth the hard work it takes to adjust to a new fr
...more
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“Even without being believed, magic can change things. It moves invisibly through the air, dissolving the usual ways of seeing, allowing new ways to creep in, secretly, quietly, like a stray cat sliding thought the bushes.” 15 likes
“If you don't believe it's elves, that's your problem. I know it's elves.” 5 likes
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