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Sammy Keyes and the runaway elf

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And this new adventure is Wendelin Van Draanen's most complex and compelling yet! It's Christmastime in Sammy's hometown of Santa Martina, but some people are being very, very naughty. Pranksters dressed as wise men sabotage the Christmas Parade. In the ensuing chaos, some thugs dognap a prize Pomeranian. Then the Pom's owner blackmails Sammy into finding the dog so she won't have to pay the ransom. Sammy doesn't have to check her list twice to know that these people belong in the naughty column! But in the course of her search for the doggone dog, Sammy also comes across some characters who are harder to figure: a runaway elf, an embittered old biddy, a puffed-up policeman, and a sneaky Secret Santa. Still, someone's got that dog and whoever it is had better watch out--'cause Sammy Keyes is nosing around...and she's willing to be pretty naughty herself to make sure the bad guys pay.From the Hardcover edition.

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.From the Hardcover edition.

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