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Thursday, December 3, 2020

Sophie Washington: Class Retreat by Tonya Duncan Ellis - Book Tour - Book Review - Giveaway - Enter Daily!

Hey, lovelies!  It gives me great pleasure today to host Tonya Duncan Ellis and her new book, “Sophie Washington: Class Retreat”!  For other stops on her Goddess Fish Promotions Book Tour, please click on the banner above or any of the images in this post.

Be sure to make it to the end of this post to enter to win a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift Card!!  Also, come back daily to interact with Tonya and to increase your chances of winning!

Thanks for stopping by!  Wishing you lots of luck in this fabulous 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!



This is the eleventh book in the Readers' Favorite five star rated Sophie Washington book series that includes:

Sophie Washington: Queen of the Bee (Book 1)


Sophie Washington: The Snitch (Book 2)


Sophie Washington: Things You Didn't Know About Sophie (Book 3)


Sophie Washington: The Gamer (Book 4)


Sophie Washington: Hurricane (Book 5)


Sophie Washington: Mission Costa Rica (Book 6)


Sophie Washington: Secret Santa (Book 7)


Sophie Washington: Code One (Book 8)


Sophie Washington: Mismatch (Book 9)


Sophie Washington: My BFF (Book 10)


Sophie Washington: Class Retreat (Book 11)


**Kids Ages 8-12**



A twig snaps, and the dark shadow rises. I run like a rabbit through leafy trees. My hair is drenched; I can smell the sweat in my armpits. Down, down, down the trail I race for dear life. As the footsteps get closer, I turn. A tall, hairy man grabs my arm, and I scream.

Heart racing, I jerk up, and pull my comforter to my chest. I see my goldfish bowl on my dresser and breathe a sigh of relief. It’s the third night in a row I’ve had nightmares about Big Foot. I hope they stop soon, because this is getting old.

The dreams started after I watched a show called Finding Big Foot with my parents and little brother, Cole. I want to forget about the hairy ape man, also known as Sasquatch. But Cole’s been talking about it every chance he gets. This morning, unfortunately, is no different.

“What do you call a Sasquatch who loves working with clay?” Cole reads a joke from his library book. “A hairy potter!”

“What do you get when Bigfoot walks in your garden? “Squash!”

“It’s too early for this!” I put my hands over my ears. I should have packed my ear plugs in my bag with my swimsuit.

My father laughs as he pulls into our school entrance. With the orange and pinkish colors of the sun coming up from behind the clouds, the two-story, gray building stands out like a piece in a pop-up book. About twenty or thirty other cars are sliding into parking spaces, and I strain my eyes to find my friends.



This book is proof of why I love this book series, the author and her talented writing style, and of course, Sophie Washington and her friends!!!

This book was such a fun, exciting, entertaining, intriguing, suspenseful, and engaging read!!!

This is the seventh book I’ve read and reviewed in The Sophie Washington Book Series, and this is the eighth book in the series that I’ve featured on my blog!  I have absolutely enjoyed every one of them!  So, I was thrilled to read and review Tonya’s latest book in this series, “Class Retreat.”

Like with the other previous books in this series, I couldn’t put this book down!!

Even after writing eleven Sophie Washington books, the author still finds new and refreshing story lines, exciting and creative character challenges, and important life lessons that are essential for kids to learn!!

I still find each book in this series to be not only well written, but also fresh, unique, and thoroughly entertaining!!

Tonya’s impressive writing skills only continue to improve, grow, and expand with each book!!

It was great catching back up with Sophie and her friends for another exciting adventure!!

This book follows Sophie and her friends while they enjoy an exciting adventure at Camp Glowing Spring for their class retreat.  Sophie has been looking forward to spending time with her friends swimming, playing tug-a-war, and eating s’mores around a campfire.  More importantly, she’s looking forward to getting away from her annoying younger brother, Cole, who won’t stop bugging her about all things Big Foot.  Sophie starts developing fear and anxiety about Big Foot and even begins to have nightmares.  Regardless, she decides to go on the trip as she’s been looking forward to it all year.  During a beautiful nature hiking trip Sophie and her friends discover a giant footprint – could it be Big Foot?!  Is Big Foot real?!  Sophie and her friends are on the hunt to find Big Foot and the truth.  Can Sophie face her fear and come face-to-face with Big Foot?  Besides this exciting, intriguing, and suspenseful mystery of trying to track down Big Foot, this book is also filled with silly pranks, road trip games, singing show tunes, a scavenger hunt, scary campfire stories, and fabulous new friendships.  This book also touches on bullying, racism, and harassment.

I totally love the characters!!  Sophie, her friends: Chloe, Mariama, Valentia, Toby, and Nathan; her little brother, Cole; Coach Quackenbush; new friends: Carly, Christy, and Carlos; and newcomers: Head Counselor Jaimie Siever; Jaimie’s Assistant, Trina Long; and Park Ranger Darryl.  They were all enjoyable, realistic, and relatable.

I was so happy to see so many returning characters!!  I tend to get invested in my characters – especially in a book series, so I was glad to see so many of them come back and pick right up where we left off from the last book.

I always tend to bond more with Sophie and this book was no different.  I have really enjoyed watching her grow over the years – over the books.  I think many readers will also be able to easily connect with Sophie or even one of her friends.  Having that interaction and relationship with a character really helps solidify the understanding of the story and the take-away messages the author has left for the reader to devour.

I love that this book takes real-life issues head on and allows the reader to easily connect with the characters and the situations they get into.

One of the many things I love about Tonya’s writing is her ability to not only incorporate current events into the story, but also express them in a relatable way for kids to easily understand!!!

In this book, Arnold harasses and bullies Sophie and her friends while also making vulgar and racist comments.  These are hot button topics that are so on point in our current world today.  Tonya’s ability to address these sensitive issues in a clear, appropriate, and effective manner allow young readers to effortlessly understand and identify bullying, explore ideas for responding to bullying behavior, and learn to use specific strategies for addressing and reporting bullying behavior.  Furthermore, Tonya’s proficiency guiding the anti-racism movement and teaching the next generation to confront racial injustices shines bright in this story.  It is crucially important that everyone be respected and treated fairly regardless of their race.  This book certainly gets the conversation started, but it is up to the child’s parents and the people in the child’s life to set an example and continue to help the child recognize and confront racial bias - something that unfortunately, even adults continue to struggle with this on a daily basis.

This book is full of valuable lessons that readers of ALL ages can enjoy, appreciate, and learn from!!

I also enjoyed the expressive, artistic, lively, and spirited illustrations that are featured throughout this book.  These images brilliantly captured the essence of the characters and provided vivid story line details.

I loved the extras that the author included at the end of the book!!  Tonya provided an exciting scavenger hunt game, a delicious Indoor S’Mores Recipe – which I absolutely had to try the microwave method after reading a camp story lol, and fun, interesting facts about Big Foot!!  Another interesting fact – my home state of Oregon, seems to have some of the highest reported sasquatch sightings!!!  I did not know that!!!  I go camping all the time in some of the places that apparently have had sightings – might start thinking twice about staying at those campsites lol!!

This book has a creative story line, structured outline, evenly paced plot points, detailed scenes, relatable characters, important and useful life lessons, instilled valuable morals, and keeps you engaged through the last page – regardless of your age!

I really enjoyed reading this book and wish these books were around when I was a kid.  I look forward to being able to share this book series with my kids that I hope to have one day in the future!!

I think the best part of this book being for middle graders, is that it’s a fun, cool, intriguing book for them!  It’s not a dumbed down kid’s book and it’s not a book that a parent can be worried that their kid is reading.  It’s a book that a kid will want to read, won’t be embarrassed to read in front of their friends or their parents.  It’s the right kind of a book a kid should be reading and the right kind of book their parent will be glad they are reading!

This book is book eleven of the Sophie Washington Book Series.  Although I have read many of the other books in this series, this book can absolutely be read on its own as a standalone without any fear of getting lost or confused.  However, I totally LOVE this book series, and would definitely recommend reading the whole series!!!  Each book follows Sophie and her friends through a particular adventure, while overcoming specific obstacles, and each book provides important educational and moral life lessons that coincide with the book’s theme.

This book is “G” rated as there is no swearing, no violence, no adult situations, and no sexual content.

All in all, I really enjoyed reading this book and would absolutely recommend it!  I think all middle grade readers and in all honesty readers of all ages will like this book too – and this book series!  So, add it to your TBR List and get to reading - you won't be disappointed!

**Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book and have voluntarily provided an honest, and unbiased review in accordance with FTC regulations.**

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Check out my other Sophie Washington Book Series Posts & Reviews:

Sophie Washington: Queen Bee – Book One – Review


Sophie Washington: The Snitch – Book Two – Guest Post: https://fabulousandbrunette.blogspot.com/2018/01/sophie-washington-snitch-by-tonya.html

Sophie Washington: The Gamer – Book Four – Review:


Sophie Washington: Hurricane – Book Five – Review:


Sophie Washington: Secret Santa – Book Seven – Review:


Sophie Washington: Code One – Book Eight – Review:


Sophie Washington: Mismatch – Book Nine – Review:


Sophie Washington: My BFF – Book Ten – Review:




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.





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Tonya will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**This post contains affiliate links and if clicked and a purchase is made, I may receive a small commission to help support this blog.  This does not cost you anything, it just helps pay for all those awesome giveaways on here**

This contest is sponsored by a third party. Fabulous and Brunette is a registered host of Goddess Fish Promotions.  Prizes are given away by the sponsors and not Fabulous and Brunette. The featured author and Goddess Fish Promotions are solely responsible for the giveaway prize.


  1. Tonya ~ Good morning! Welcome back! As always, it is a pleasure to have you here! Congrats on your new book and good luck on the book tour! I really enjoyed reading and reviewing your book, thanks for providing the copy! :)

  2. Good morning Ally! I'm blushing from your sweet review of my book. You really GOT my story. Thanks so much for all your detailed insights. Sorry that I've made you nervous about your next camping trip. LOL!! Hope to be able to return to your blog again with another Sophie Washington book. :)

  3. Great to see you again Victoria. Thanks for following along my tour. :)

  4. I appreciate you checking out my tour Rita. :)

  5. This book series sounds really good to me, good luck.