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Reviewed by Susan Sewell for Readers' Favorite
A sixth-grade girl confronts some of her biggest fears in the exciting middle-grade novel, Sophie Washington: Class Retreat by Tonya Duncan Ellis. Three days before going on a camping trip with her classmates, Sophie Washington watched the television show Finding Bigfoot with her eight-year-old brother Cole. For the next three nights, Sophie has terrifying nightmares about a hairy man-beast chasing her through the woods. Spouting facts he is reading from his monster book, Cole insists on giving Sophie advice about Bigfoot, while her parents drive her to the bus. Even though she doesn't believe that Bigfoot or ghosts are real, Sophie is annoyed with Cole, and all of his information has given her an uneasy feeling that the massive furry creature will show up during her stay in the woods. Her worst fears are confirmed when she sees a tall hairy man walking through the trees as the bus pulls into the campground and later he appears at their campfire. Does Bigfoot really exist? Are Sophie and her friends in danger?
Part of a series, Sophie Washington: Class Retreat by Tonya Duncan Ellis is a captivating story with delightful characters and intriguing situations. With an entertaining and uncomplicated plot, the book is ideal for engaging children ages 9 years old on up. Not only is the story enjoyable, but it also presents important life lessons that pre-adolescents experience. The primary concept within the plot teaches children that things that seem frightening or terrifying are rarely as scary as their imagination has built them up to be. The racial aspects integrated into the story are an ingenious way to raise the awareness that not everyone is respectful of others' feelings or differences. It is a delightful story, and I am enchanted with Sophie and her friends and highly recommend this book to readers in the fourth to the sixth-grade range.