Janet Taylor Lisle
Afternoon of the Elves

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

“Are you sure it isn't mice,” she asked Sara-Kate, who stood beside her, thin and nervous. “The houses are small enough for mice.”

“No, it isn't,” Sara-Kate said. “Mice don't make villages in people's backyards.”

Hillary got down on her knees to look more closely. She counted the tiny houses. There were nine, each made of sticks bound delicately together with bits of string and wire...”

So begins the mystifying story of Sara-Kate Connolly and her strange but wonderful backyard. Why would elves, even if they existed, come to live there, of all places, Hillary wonders? The Connolly's yard is junky and overgrown, and Sara-Kate herself is not a good person. She's older and has a reputation for lying and stealing at school. Hillary's mother doesn't want Hillary playing “down there, in that yard.” But Hillary can't stay away. The place is so fascinating.

And Sara-Kate is fascinating, too, once you get to know her. She's small and quick, with tiny eyes that seem to see everything, the way an elf would. She eats wild berries and mint leaves, and never gets cold, even in winter without a coat, just like the elves she describes to Hillary. In fact, the more Hillary sees of Sara-Kate, the more she begins to wonder: Could she be an elf, too?

More about the Book

Afternoon of the Elves was a Newbery Honor book in 1990 and has been translated into six languages. It’s also been made into a play which is currently being performed at children's theaters around the country. Keep an eye out in case it comes near you.

Awards and Honors

ALA/ALSC Newbery Honor Book, 1990
School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
ALA Notable Children's Book
Booklist Editor's Choice
Horn Book Fanfare
Parents' Choice Award

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Janet Taylor Lisle
Copyright 1999- , Janet Taylor Lisle. All rights reserved.