Thursday, December 17, 2020

Sophie Washington: Class Retreat by Tonya Duncan Ellis - Book Tour & Review + Giveaway

Sophie Washington: Class Retreat

by Tonya Duncan Ellis


GENRE: Children's Middle Grade



There is no such thing as Big Foot! Or is there… 

Sophie Washington and her classmates are on their way to Camp Glowing Spring for a class retreat. It’ll be two full days of swimming, eating s’mores around a campfire, tug-of-war, archery, and more! Sophie’s been looking forward to the trip all school year and can’t wait to spend extra time with her friends. It will also be great to get away from her bratty younger brother, Cole, and his constant stories about Big Foot. If Cole warns her about what to do if she sees the hairy ape man on the retreat one more time, she’ll put in ear plugs. Everybody knows Big Foot is a hoax!  

Once the kids arrive at the retreat site things are as exciting as Sophie imagined. She has fun exploring nature with her besties, Chloe, Valentina, Toby, Nathan, and Mariama, and meeting new friends too. Then the kids see a giant footprint during a nature hike in the woods and the adventure really begins!



“Wake up, Sophie!” Chloe rubs my shoulder. “We’re here.” 

I twist my stiff neck until it cracks and rub the sleepy stuff from around my eyes.  I must’ve napped for over an hour. My jeans feel drier, thank goodness. I won’t have to change my clothes. 

The bus tires crunch over gravel as we drive past a white and green billboard that reads “Camp Glowing Spring: Established 1965.” The only drawing on the big sign, besides the green letters, is a pine tree with a swirly line around it, which seems like the perfect symbol for this place.  

It reminds me of a Grimm’s Fairy Tale forest, beautiful, but spooky. Giant evergreens surround a long, one-story building, with a lake behind it. The bright sky stretches overhead like a canopy bed. Spanish moss drips from some tree branches like frizzy, gray hair. As we pass a foot trail that winds into the greenery, I shiver, remembering Cole’s warnings about Big Foot.

Camp Glowing Spring looks exactly like the woods from my nightmare. What if Big Foot comes to our cabin to get us at night?  I blink and shake my head to snap back into reality. Big Foot is a hoax. I need to enjoy being away from my little brother’s tall tales for the next two days.

As the bus drives deeper into the campground, the hum of excited kids gets louder.

“Check that out!” Toby bounces on his seat and stares at a water park on the lake. There’s a wooden pier in the center and an inflatable blue and yellow water slide. A giant-sized, red, yellow, and blue plastic pillow floats beside it. 

“That lake is probably 100 feet deep!” Nathan leans over Toby’s shoulder. 

I wonder what lurks underneath the greenish blue waters. Does Big Foot swim? 

“That’s the Blob!” Chloe points at the huge, plastic pillow. “Some eighth graders told me how much fun it is. I can’t wait to jump out there. If a bigger person flops on after you, your body flies high in the air before you hit the water.”

“Cool!” Nathan’s eyeballs widen behind his glasses.

I bite my thumbnail.

I’m scared of heights, and the idea of bouncing over a huge lake doesn’t exactly float my boat. I better make sure that I’m the last one on the Blob if I do try it.


My Review

Sophie Washington: Class Retreat is one of the many books in the Sophie Washington series. As this was my first book in the series, I went in not knowing much about Sophie or the other characters, but it was easy enough to follow along with. Sophie is a ten year old girl from Texas. She has a younger brother named Cole. She's very friendly and close to her family. In this book, Sophie and her class go on a special retreat to learn more about nature. It's basically like summer camp, but during the school year. But Sophie is a little nervous. She's worried that, thanks to her brother's silliness and stories, Big Foot will be lurking in the woods and they might see him. Scary! I thought this was a cute story that young readers will enjoy. While geared a little more towards young girls, I think young male readers will also like the story. There's hiking and archery, and of course pranks. Plus, Sophie is a pretty tough cookie, and she doesn't hesitate to stand up for her friends when bullies from another school (also on a retreat) starting picking on them. The bullies aren't just mean, though. They're racist. And I feel like their comments, and Sophie's reaction to them, are a good learning lesson for kids. It's a way for parents to talk to their young readers about racism and how despicable that sort of behavior is. If you have a young reader, or just happen to enjoy middle-grade fiction (a young at heart adult), check out the Sophie Washington series. They're great reads! 4 stars!


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Tonya Duncan Ellis was born and raised in Louisville, KY. She loves reading so much that as a child she took books with her everywhere. She knew she wanted to become a writer after an article she wrote was published in her hometown newspaper when she was a teen. Since then, Tonya has worked as a journalist and freelance magazine writer. A graduate of Centre College of Kentucky and Washington University in St. Louis, she’s an Amazon bestselling and award-winning author of the Sophie Washington children's book series, geared towards readers ages 8 to 12. The books recount adventures of Houston, TX preteen Sophie Washington and her diverse group of friends. Each funny and heartwarming story teaches lessons about friendship, responsibility, truthfulness and perseverance. Books in the series include Queen of the Bee, The Snitch, Things You Didn't Know About Sophie, The Gamer, Hurricane, Mission: Costa Rica, Secret Santa, and Code One. When she's not writing, Tonya enjoys reading, biking, swimming, travel, and spending time with her husband and three children. She lives in Missouri City, TX.

Instagram: @tonyaellisbooks

Facebook: @tonyaellisbooks

Twitter: @TonyaDEllis



Tonya Duncan Ellis will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner

via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  1. I've enjoyed following the tour, thanks for sharing all of the great posts along the way.

    1. Hi Victoria! Nice to see you again on my tour. Good luck in the giveaway!

  2. Thanks so much for featuring me on your blog and for the great review! I really appreciate it. :)

  3. I enjoyed following the tour and learning about your book, Tonya! Sounds like a great children's book! Thanks for sharing and I hope the tour was a success! Thanks Jazzy, for sharing your review!

    1. Thanks so much for following along my tour Stormy! I appreciate your time.

  4. This sounds like a very good book.

    1. Thank you Sherry. I'm so happy you stopped by my review tour.


Please try not to spam posts with the same comments over and over again. Authors like seeing thoughtful comments about their books, not the same old, "I like the cover" or "sounds good" comments. While that is nice, putting some real thought and effort in is appreciated. Thank you.