Sammy Keyes and the Runaway Elf
By Wendelin Van Draanen
(Yearling, Paperback, 9780375802553, 208pp.)
Publication Date: May 9, 2000
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"The most winning junior detective ever in teen lit. (Take that, Nancy Drew!)" —Midwest Children's Book Review
The Christmas parade gets furry in a hurry when three pranksters dressed as wise men toss some cats onto Sammy's float. Dogs shoot off in all directions, and the prize Pomeranian Sammy's supposed to be watching disappears. Turns out the darn fuzzball's been kidnapped. The owner is demanding that Sammy find her doggone dog . . . and she's a woman who knows how to get what she wants.
But Sammy's a pretty tough cookie herself. Dognappers, blackmailers, and wise men be warned!
The Sammy Keyes mysteries are fast-paced, funny, thoroughly modern, and true whodunits. Each mystery is exciting and dramatic, but it's the drama in Sammy's personal life that keeps readers coming back to see what happens next with her love interest Casey, her soap-star mother, and her mysterious father.
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.
"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