Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Review of Sophie Washington: Queen of the Bee by Tonya Duncan Ellis

Welcome to the first stop on the first tour for the Sophie Washington series by Tonya Duncan Ellis! I have a couple more from this series coming up in the next several weeks and can't wait to share them with you. In the meantime, please check out this excerpt and my review. Be sure to follow along the rest of the tour so that you can have more opportunities to enter the giveaway. And leave a comment for Tonya!

Please also note that affiliate links are present in this post. Should you make a purchase through one, I may earn a small commission to help support this blog at no additional cost to you. I also received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

Sophie Washington: Queen of the Bee

Sign up for the spelling bee? No way!

If there’s one thing 10-year-old Texan Sophie Washington is good at, it’s spelling. She’s earned straight 100s on all her spelling tests to prove it. Her parents want her to compete in the Xavier Academy spelling bee, but Sophie wishes they would buzz off.

Her life in the Houston suburbs is full of adventures, and she doesn’t want to slow down the action. Where else can you chase wild hogs out of your yard, ride a bucking sheep, or spy an eight-foot-long alligator during a bike ride through the neighborhood? Studying spelling words seems as fun as getting stung by a hornet, in comparison.

That’s until her irritating classmate, Nathan Jones, challenges her. There’s no way she can let Mr. Know-It-All win. Studying is hard when you have a pesky younger brother and a busy social calendar. Can Sophie ignore the distractions and become Queen of the Bee?

Read an excerpt:
“Turn the television off, and you two go get the newspaper and pull the garbage can up to the garage,” says Mom, shaking her head and pouring more pancake batter into the skillet. “All this arguing is going to make me burn breakfast.”

I clench my fists to keep from wringing Cole’s neck. “Did you tell Mom about the contest?” he loudly yells over blips and bleeps. He is playing a Video Rangers cartridge on his Nintendo DS game now that the television is off.

“What contest?” asks Dad, entering the kitchen.

“Oh, it’s nothing really,” I say. “Just something Mrs. Green was talking about at school on Friday . . .”

“It’s the big spelling bee, and they want all the kids in the third grade and up to be in it,” pipes up Cole. “Mrs. Green said she hopes Sophie signs up, since she’s such a great speller.”

“That sounds like a wonderful opportunity for you, Sophie,” Mom says. “You are really good at spelling.”

“Sign up first thing Monday morning,” says Dad. “Maybe we can start you studying this weekend. Did they give you a list of spelling words?”

“I need to check my backpack, Dad. It’s out in the garage,” I say, trying to change the subject.

“Come on, Cole, Mom told us to get the paper.”

“Why can’t you go out to the driveway by yourself?” he complains. “We’re not even through eating.”

“Go help your sister,” Mom commands.

We head out the garage door to the driveway. “You are such a tattletale,” I say, nudging Cole once we are out of earshot. “Why’d you have to tell Mom and Dad about the spelling bee?” He elbows me back.Then we both stop in our tracks.Three hairy pigs are running around our front yard.

Buy links

**My thoughts**
Okay, I am the newest fan of Miss Sophie Washington! She is smart, spunky, relatable, and most of all REAL. Sophie is totally a girl I would have hung out with in fifth grade. At times, I even saw my 10-year-old self in her. I love that in chapter books like this for kids and know I would have loved this book at that age as well.

Sophie is presented with the challenge of participating in her school's spelling bee. That's something I always wanted to do, but I went to a smaller private school that back then didn't have such things. Sophie sets an excellent example as to how you should prepare for a spelling bee through a lot of hard work. She shows how you can stand up against adversity that shows up in annoying classmates, without being a jerk yourself. She learns that responsibility pays off. And she learns that sometimes there's a reason that those annoying classmates act the way that they do. In a short time, Sophie learns a lot of life lessons and shows a lot of growth. She's also not a perfect kid, though she's an overall good one. Her voice comes through well in the narrative.

Her little brother Cole is a typical pain in the butt, but he is also a good kid. I loved the realistic interactions between the two of them, both as they picked on each other and bickered, and when they quietly showed affection toward each other.

Sophie's parents are very supportive. They know how to push their kids enough to help them to succeed, without being overbearing, which I feel like a lot of parents these days seem to forget. They expect great things out of their children without having unrealistic expectations.

So all in all, a lot of great characters show up in this story. They have some fun adventures to which kids should relate. This is a book I would strongly recommend reading in middle and upper elementary years. I greatly look forward to checking out more of the series!

About Tonya Duncan Ellis

Tonya Ellis loves reading so much that as a child she took books with her everywhere rather than put them down. She knew she wanted to become a writer after an article she wrote was published in her hometown newspaper when she was fourteen years old. Since then, Tonya has worked as a journalist, written for newspapers and magazines and won awards for her books. She is the mom of three spelling bee champions, and has judged several spelling bee events. SOPHIE WASHINGTON: QUEEN OF THE BEE is her debut novel in a series about Sophie and her friends. Currently, Ms. Ellis lives in Missouri City, Texas with her husband, daughter, and two sons.

Website: www.tonyaellisbooks.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tonyaellisbooks/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TonyaDEllis

Tonya Duncan Ellis will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I enjoyed getting to know your book; congrats on the tour and I hope it is a fun one for you :)

    1. Thanks Lisa! It is nice seeing you again on this tour.

  2. Thanks for the review, Andi, and for featuring me on your blog. I'm so happy you enjoyed the book!

  3. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one!

  4. Looks like an interesting and fun book.
    Thanks for the contest. 
    slehan at juno dot com

  5. This looks like a fun book to read! Thanks for sharing.


  6. Thanks for hosting the giveaway. This looks like a fun read. Thanks for sharing. Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

  7. Thank you for your honest review, it's much appreciated!

  8. Thank you for your honest review, it's much appreciated!

  9. Replies
    1. I’ve loved to read and write since I was small. My mom took me to the library every week and I volunteered in a library as a teen. I worked as a journalist after college and a few years ago decided to write my own children’s books.

  10. What kind of books do you read?

  11. I read all kinds of books, romance novels, thrillers, and I love kids middle grade chapter books and YA novels too. Some good kids books I’ve read recently are Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.

  12. Do you write more in bad weather or sunshine?

  13. Do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day?

  14. Did you wear green yesterday?