Sammy Keyes and the Runaway Elf

Sammy Keyes and the Runaway Elf

4.2 24
by Wendelin Van Draanen, Tara Sands
     
 

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Books have always been a part of Wendelin Van Draanen’s life. Her mother taught her to read at an early age, and she has fond memories of story time with her father, when she and her brothers would cuddle up around him and listen to him read stories.

Growing up, Van Draanen was a tomboy who loved to be outside chasing down adventure. She did not decide…  See more details below

Overview

Books have always been a part of Wendelin Van Draanen’s life. Her mother taught her to read at an early age, and she has fond memories of story time with her father, when she and her brothers would cuddle up around him and listen to him read stories.

Growing up, Van Draanen was a tomboy who loved to be outside chasing down adventure. She did not decide that she wanted to be an author until she was an adult. When she tried her hand at writing a screenplay about a family tragedy, she found the process quite cathartic and from that experience, turned to writing novels for adults. She soon stumbled upon the joys of writing for children.

Feedback from her readers is Van Draanen’s greatest reward for writing. “One girl came up to me and told me I changed her life. It doesn’t get any better than that,” she said. Van Draanen hopes to leave her readers with a sense that they have the ability to steer their own destiny—that individuality is a strength, and that where there’s a will, there’s most certainly a way.

Wendelin Van Draanen is the winner of the 1999 Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Children’s Mystery Book for Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief and lives with her husband and two sons in California.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Karen Porter
This fourth book in the Sammy Keyes series is a charming mystery for children approaching their teens. Set in the Christmas season, it tells the story of Sammy as she is pressed into service on a float in the Christmas parade and is then blackmailed into solving the mystery of a missing dog. As she searches for Marique, Sammy makes a new friend, uncovers several blackmail plots and comes to terms with the conflicts in her own family. The book combines a fast moving, entertaining plot with lessons about friendship and forgiveness that will speak to any child approaching his or her teenage years. Written from Sammy's perspective in a fun, casual style, this book is a pleasure to read.
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Sammy Keyes is the newest mystery solver for middle schoolers, and the author Wendelin Van Draanen, has proven her skill by winning an Edgar award. Sammy is a tough, funny, and very smart girl who is bound to grow up to be a parboiled detective like Kinsey Milhone. Van Draanen's mysteries function in much the same way, a number of plots threading through the book, all come together at the end. In this adventure, Sammy faces an ugly gossipy woman who's blackmailing her, holds the hand of her hated adversary Mrs. Graybill as she dies, comforts a little girl who's still traumatized by her father's death, and tries to make peace with the fact that her flighty mother is starring in a commercial about having gas.
KLIATT
To quote KLIATT's Jan. 2000 review of the hardcover edition: More Sammy Keyes! Her intelligence and courage continue in this fourth book in the series. Sammy is in the eighth grade, struggling to hide her presence in the senior housing where she lives illegally with her grandmother. In fact, someone is blackmailing her in this mystery, with the threat of exposure and the eviction of her grandmother. So, she is forced to take on the case here: recovering a dog that has been abducted from its owner, an especially obnoxious wealthy woman. The kidnappers are asking for $50,000 or they will kill the beloved pet. The same wonderful supporting cast is here for Sammy, truly memorable people. Her enemies are here as well, especially mean Heather from Sammy's class. And Sammy's mother plans to return home from her quest for success in L.A. in time for Christmas, which makes Sammy feel quite confused. There is an overall theme of the importance of forgiveness in this particular book, as Sammy faces the reality that she isn't ready to forgive her mother. Editor's note: the first three Sammy Keyes mysteries have also just been reissued in paperback. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 1999, Random House/Knopf, 188p, 20cm, 98-54641, $4.99. Ages 13 to 15. Reviewer: Claire Rosser; September 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 5)
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Sammy Keyes, that savvy seventh-grade sleuth, is back in another whodunit adventure. It may be Christmas, but that doesn't mean everybody in Santa Martina plans to be nice. The minute Sammy gets roped into working on the Canine Calendar float in the holiday parade, trouble erupts. The famous calendar cover dog, Marique, is dognapped, and the animal's owner holds the amateur detective responsible for finding her pet before the $50,000 ransom comes due. However, the teen can't find the creature or many clues. The only thing that turns up is a young elflike girl named Elyssa, who has big problems of her own. Possible suspects and evil motivations abound as the story moves into overdrive. Sammy carefully closes in on the dognappers while at the same time strengthening her newly formed friendships with Elyssa and her grandmother's cranky neighbor. It's not often that 13-year-olds hang around with younger children or visit with senior citizens, and Van Draanen handles the relationships with style and sensitivity. A refreshing, well-rounded character in every sense of the word, Sammy is great fun to spend time with, and her newest adventure is a roller-coaster ride full of twists aplenty.-Linda Bindner, formerly at Athens Clarke County Library, GA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Sammy Keyes is the mystery sensation of the year."—Buffalo News

"A high-quality, high-amp mystery series."—The Horn Book

"The sleuth delights from start to finish."—Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781606406441
Publisher:
Findaway World
Publication date:
10/28/2008
Series:
Sammy Keyes Series
Edition description:
With Headphones
Product dimensions:
4.60(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Books have always been a part of Wendelin Van Draanen’s life. Her mother taught her to read at an early age, and she has fond memories of story time with her father, when she and her brothers would cuddle up around him and listen to him read stories.

Growing up, Van Draanen was a tomboy who loved to be outside chasing down adventure. She did not decide that she wanted to be an author until she was an adult. When she tried her hand at writing a screenplay about a family tragedy, she found the process quite cathartic and from that experience, turned to writing novels for adults. She soon stumbled upon the joys of writing for children.

Feedback from her readers is Van Draanen’s greatest reward for writing. “One girl came up to me and told me I changed her life. It doesn’t get any better than that,” she said. Van Draanen hopes to leave her readers with a sense that they have the ability to steer their own destiny—that individuality is a strength, and that where there’s a will, there’s most certainly a way.

Wendelin Van Draanen is the winner of the 1999 Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Children’s Mystery Book for Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief and lives with her husband and two sons in California.

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