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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Last Elf (The)
by Silvana De Mari
Age Range: 9-11
The Last Elf is an evocative, lyrical tale, full of gentle gems of wisdom. A young elf, Yorsh (short for Yorshkrunsquarkljolnerstrink), finds himself all alone on the moor in a land where it is always raining. He is the last elf, frail, lost and frightened and completely unworldly. When he meets Sajra and Monser the hunter, they all decide to travel on together. The couple feel unable to leave Yorsh behind even though they are wary of elves.
Their journey turns into an eventful adventure as they uncover a prophecy engraved on a wall which puts the little elf in a world-changing position. The couple come to realise that Yorsh has life-saving qualities of which he is completely unaware. In order to fulfil the prophecy he has to go in search of Erbrow, the last dragon and to find a way to stop the incessant rain and allowing the sun to shine once more.
Intertwined within the story of a seemingly impossible quest that is filled with trolls, dragons, and fraught with danger there are wonderful comic interludes, such as the meeting between Yorsh and the big bad troll – “You’re beautiful!”, he tells him – or the annoying old dragon who loves sentimental fairy stories and Erbrow the younger who suffers a hangover after drinking too much beer.
Yorsh’s destiny brings him into contact with Robi the orphan girl whose fate is inextricably linked with his own. This is a story of true friendship and loyalty; fear and hatred; terrible pain and loss together with perseverance against all the odds. It’s a fairy tale that speaks to children but with a wittiness that will definitely appeal to adults as well. Silvana De Mari’s debut novel shows that she is a true storyteller.
Honor Winner of the Mildred L. Bachelder Award 2007.