cover image Afternoon of the Elves

Afternoon of the Elves

Janet Taylor Lisle, J. Lisle. Scholastic, $16.99 (128pp) ISBN 978-0-531-05837-4

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. (Sept.)