Lantern Sam and the Blue Streak Bandits

Lantern Sam and the Blue Streak Bandits

5.0 2
by Michael D. Beil
     
 

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“An atmospheric late-1930s adventure with old-time cinematic appeal. Fans of fast-paced, far-fetched action will lap it up as enthusiastically as Sam swallows his favorite brand of sardines.” —Kirkus Reviews
 
Lantern Sam is the wise-cracking, sarcastic, talking cat (for those who can hear him, that is) who lives on board the Lake

Overview

“An atmospheric late-1930s adventure with old-time cinematic appeal. Fans of fast-paced, far-fetched action will lap it up as enthusiastically as Sam swallows his favorite brand of sardines.” —Kirkus Reviews
 
Lantern Sam is the wise-cracking, sarcastic, talking cat (for those who can hear him, that is) who lives on board the Lake Erie Shoreliner train and is one of the best detectives no one knows about. He doesn’t have much patience for humans (unless they bring him sardines), but when 10-year-old traveler Henry can’t find his new friend, the exuberant Ellie, Sam’s enlisted to help. A ransom note is soon discovered and just like that, Sam and Henry are on the case, with the help of Clarence the Conductor (who supplies Sam’s sardines). But is Ellie still on board the train? Did the salesman with his trunk full of samples sneak her off? And why does that couple keep acting so suspiciously?

Veteran middle-grade mystery author Michael D. Beil has crafted a hilarious and appealing adventure set in the 1930s that’s chock-full of quirky characters and red herrings, and all with an irresistible cat at its center.


From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Heidi Hauser Green
More than seventy-five years after it opened to the public, Conneaut Lake Park’s celebrated wooden roller coaster the Blue Streak has a critical role in a fun mystery with more twists and turns than its famed track. The year is 1938. Ten-year-old Henry Shipley is traveling aboard the (fictional) Lake Erie Shoreliner with his mother and two-year-old sister. They are headed home to Ashtabula, Ohio from a trip to New York City, and they aim to arrive in time to meet Henry’s dad, a ship’s captain, at the docks. Their plan is derailed when Ellie Strasbourg, a talkative girl who has befriended Henry, goes missing. It turns out Ellie is the heir to a shipping fortune, and she is headed to the amusement park to ride the Blue Streak on its inaugural day. Her mother has brought along a priceless necklace with an enormous sapphire known as the “Blue Streak.” Bandits set upon taking the jewels have kidnapped Ellie. It is up to Henry and his new friends, train conductor Clarence Nockwood and the irascible cat Lantern Sam, to find Ellie before it is too late. Fortunately, Sam is quite the detective—and able to communicate with certain special people, including Henry. The mystery of Ellie’s kidnapping is interspersed with Sam’s “almost entirely true biography.” Beil’s mystery is an enjoyable railroad romp that will have readers alternately cheering and groaning aloud. The bandits are slapstick funny, at least until the gripping conclusion. Let’s hope for more adventures for Henry, Lantern Sam, and company. Reviewer: Heidi Hauser Green; Ages 8 to 12.
School Library Journal
03/01/2014
Gr 4–6—Henry Shipley and his family are going home to meet his father, a ship captain returning from his latest journey at sea. While aboard the train, Henry meets Ellie Strasbourg, who disappears shortly thereafter. With the help of Clarence Nockwood, the head train conductor, and Lantern Sam, a talking cat touted as the world's greatest detective since Sherlock Holmes, Henry sets out to discover what has happened to Ellie. One thing is for certain, someone on the train is trying to deceive them and it is up to the trio to break the case. Set aboard the Lake Erie Shoreliner passenger train in 1939, this historical mystery primarily takes place over just two days. Woven together with the main story line are chapters containing autobiographical tidbits about Lantern Sam's life, giving readers details about his backstory. Reluctant readers and fans of humorous tales and mysteries will enjoy this book. Teachers should add this to their list of classroom read-alouds as well.—Stephanie Charlefour, Wixom Public Library, MI
From the Publisher
Kirkus Reviews, February 2014:
"An atmospheric late-1930s adventure with old-time cinematic appeal. Fans of fast-paced, far-fetched action will lap it up as enthusiastically as Sam swallows his favorite brand of sardines."

Booklist starred review, May 1, 2014:
“With its swift pacing, suspense, and humor, Beil’s latest mystery is a fine choice for reading aloud or reading alone.”

Kirkus Reviews
2014-02-26
A talking cat with a penchant for problem-solving and self-reflection, a clever kidnapping-cum–jewel heist, a couple of kids and a friendly train conductor all collide in an atmospheric late-1930s adventure with old-time cinematic appeal. Mystery author Beil returns to his Ohio roots with a main character, 10-year-old Henry Shipley from Ashtabula, and a climactic scene on board the Blue Streak roller coaster at Conneaut Lake Park. The bulk of the action, however, takes place on a train. Henry, an observant, artistic child, narrates while the eponymous Lantern Sam, a male calico, inserts chapters detailing his own earlier life and frequent narrow escapes. Both boy and cat are drawn into the mystery surrounding the sudden disappearance of Ellie Strasbourg, a wealthy young girl. The author balances his parallel narratives relatively well, though Sam's story takes some unexpected directions, as when he details the danger posed by his brief flirtation with an older, female cat named Marmalade. The epilogue, written by an elderly Henry, makes sense of the occasionally arch, adult-sounding tone, but some readers may struggle to keep track of the multiple subplots and several sets of secondary (stock) characters. Laden with retro charm and sly humor, this won't suit every reader, but fans of fast-paced, far-fetched action will lap it up as enthusiastically as Sam swallows his favorite brand of sardines. (Mystery. 9-12)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385753197
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
04/08/2014
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
1,192,888
File size:
3 MB
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

MICHAEL D. BEIL teaches English at an all-girls Catholic high school in New York City. He is the author of Summer at Forsaken Lake, as well as four installments of the Edgar Award–nominated mystery series The Red Blazer Girls. He lives with his wife, two dogs, and two cats.


From the Hardcover edition.

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