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Sammy Keyes and the Runaway Elf by Wendelin Van Draanen

Sammy Keyes and the Runaway Elf

The Sammy Keyes Series
Wendelin Van Draanen

Random House (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-375-80255-X (037580255X)
ISBN-13: 978-0-375-80255-3 (9780375802553)
Publication Date: May 2000
List Price: $5.99

Review: Wendelin Van Draanen and her sly character, seventh grader Sammy Keyes, are at it again with the mystery of Sammy Keyes and the Runaway Elf. This book and series are mainly for 5th through 8th graders. It is the fourth book in the series.

The main characters in the story are Sammy Keyes, Mrs. Landvogt, and all of Sammy’s companions and enemies. In the beginning of the story Sammy is in a float at the parade in a city called Santa Marina when the dog suddenly runs away and does not come back. Sammy looks for the dog but instead finds a little girl who mysteriously is all alone in an elf costume. Now Sammy has two mysteries to solve: where the dog went and who this girl is. In the end it all works out for Sammy and the most unexpected person turns out to be the criminal.

This book was good in a way that I always wanted to keep reading because in every chapter there was always something that wasn’t laid out in the text and you had to make an inference. But sometimes the text was not clear as to who was speaking at a given point. This made it very hard to follow and went back and forth for two pages without stating who was speaking and I had to look back in the text to find out who was talking and it wasted a lot of time doing that. But still overall it was a very good book and I never got bored reading it. This book was very detailed by giving specific colors, sights, tones of voices, and feeling of the characters. If you decide to read this book, which I consider it, expect to find many mini mysteries in every chapter.

If you are looking for an interesting and lovely book, choose the Runway Elf. I really enjoyed it and hope to read the whole series.

Review written by Emma, Grade 6. Date of review: October 2008.

Review: Want a book full of pranksters, dog-nappers, men with guns, police officers, and one cranky lady? Meet the crew. Heather Ascota: commonly known for mean streaks, violence, pranks, and all things that bug Sammy! Sammy Keyes: the sassy girl we all know and love. Crocodile Lady: Mrs. Landvogt of course. And Eylssa the Runaway Elf: A lonely little girl who really needs a friend. This wonderful book Sammy Keyes and the Runaway Elf by Wendelin Van Draanen is book #4 in the series.

There is a dog-napper on the loose and Sammy knows she has to set things straight, and fast because there are high stakes at risk; Grams, Sammy and the Highrise! But would Mrs. Landvogt really get Grams and Sammy kicked out of their home? Should she pay the 50,000 dollar ransom instead? Should she call the police and risk them killing her dog? Sammy doesn't want to wait around and find out! Sammy sets to work on this case, but has nothing to start with! She looks at photographs, videos, and even breaks into a mansion to get the job done! Creepy men dressed as cats and dogs dodge through alleys, and leave her threatening phone messages! Nonetheless, Sammy will try to put forth her best effort, but she only has 6 days to do it! Can she do it? Find out as you read this bone-chilling and heart-felt book!

I really did like this book, but if I had written it, I would have changed a few things. For example there is a lot of violence, guns and tears in this book. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying emotions are bad, just maybe not so many. I believe that all readers that do love a good book should read this book, or the rest of the series. You can relate, cry and jump with each twist in the story! For example, deaths of people who begin to feel like long lost friends, a runaway girl, and Sammy's up and downs with the crocodile lady. Since this book does contain a lot of violence I would suggest it for only older and more mature readers, ages 9-13.

Review written by Tiffany, Grade 6. Date of review: November 2008.