Excerpt for Sophie Washington: Queen of the Bee by , available in its entirety at Smashwords


Sophie Washington

Queen of the Bee



Written by

Tonya Duncan Ellis


Copyright © 2018 Tonya Duncan Ellis

All Rights Reserved

Distributed by Smashwords

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the written permission of the author.

This book is a work of fiction. Places, events, and situations in this book are purely fictional and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is coincidental.


Books By Tonya Duncan Ellis

Sophie Washington: Queen of the Bee

Sophie Washington: The Snitch

Sophie Washington:

Things You Didn’t Know About Sophie

Sophie Washington: The Gamer

Sophie Washington: Hurricane


Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Three Little Pigs

Chapter 2: Mutton Bustin’

Chapter 3: Mr. Know-It-All

Chapter 4: Practice Makes Perfect

Chapter 5: A Small World

Chapter 6: The Beat Down

Chapter 7: Study Time

Chapter 8: Granny Washington

Chapter 9: R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Chapter 10: Oh Brother

Chapter 11: Fun Plex

Chapter 12: Goldy

Chapter 13: Odd Girl Out

Chapter 14: African Queens

Chapter 15: Boubou and Broccoli

Chapter 16: See You Later Alligator

Chapter 17: Regionals

Chapter 18: Room 105

Chapter 19: V-I-C-T-O-R-Y

Chapter 20: Queen of the Bee

Books by Tonya Duncan Ellis

Excerpt: Sophie Washington: The Snitch

About the Author


Chapter 1

Three Little Pigs

In fairy tales, everyone’s wish comes true. Jack gets the goose that lays the golden egg. Cinderella finds Prince Charming. Pinocchio becomes a real boy.

My happily ever after is much simpler. I want a pet goldfish. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

But my parents do. For the past year they have been putting me off every time I beg them for a pet.

“I’m allergic to cats and dogs,” says Mom. “There’s no way we could keep a furry animal in the house.”

“Well, what about a fish?” I ask.

“I don’t know if you’re responsible enough to take care of a goldfish, Sophie,” says Dad. “You might drop the bowl and get water all over the place.”

For a ten-year-old I am very responsible. If you forget about the time my brother, Cole, and I had a water fight with the sprinkler in the garage, or when I tied Cole up to a tree to keep him from tagging along with me and my friend Chloe, I’m a model child. I get good grades in school. I’m nice to my friends. And I help out in the house when Mom and Dad ask me to.

Today, I’m making my dream come true! I’m going to convince Dad to let me get a pet goldfish.

I march toward the kitchen in my pink and white polka-dot pajamas and lime green fuzzy slippers. After glancing in the hallway mirror, I push down my two, thick black braids, which stick out on each side of my head like handlebars.

“Good morning,” I say to my mother, who is busy in the kitchen making my favorite breakfast of bacon, eggs, grits and homemade pancakes. Since Dad is not up to hear me beg for a fish again, I make my way to the family room to watch a recording of a television show I taped during the school week.

Cole rushes into the room before me and grabs the remote control from the end table before I can reach it.

“Get back!” I yell.

He turns on “Video Rangers”, his favorite TV show. Then he puts the remote control under a pillow, sits on it and passes gas.

“Eeeewww! Give me that remote, Cole!” I shriek. “You knew I was getting ready to use it.”

“Moooom! I was here first, and now she wants to change the channel,” he whines.

“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 handheld video 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. One scatters when it sees us. The other two squeal and head in our direction.

“Ahhhhh!” I scream, then run toward the garage, pulling Cole along with me. The pigs double back and run off.

Our front yard, which was once a smooth carpet of green, is now filled with jagged, overturned tufts of dirt. If I hadn’t seen the animals, I would have sworn Cole had hopped through every inch of grass on his pogo stick. Our yelling brings Mom and Dad outside.

“What happened?” I ask, pressing as close to my father as I can get.

He whistles. “Our lawn’s been attacked by wild boar.”

“Wild boar!?” I exclaim.

“They dug up our yard looking for grubs and bugs to eat,” Dad explains. “Food’s probably been scarce for them, because we haven’t had a lot of rain.”

There was hardly any rain in Houston, the city we live near, this summer. The plants that wild animals that live near our neighborhood normally eat didn’t grow, so they ate bushes, flowers, and even attacked small family pets for food.

I notice that the pigs dug up some of our neighbors’ lawns, too.

“What are we going to do about the grass?” I ask Dad. “Will the pigs come back?”

“We’ll have to have it replanted,” Dad says, shaking his head. “This happened with one of our neighbors down the street, and they put a special sensor in the yard to scare the hogs off.”

With all the excitement I miss my chance to ask about a pet goldfish.

We had plans to go out as a family this afternoon, but Dad tells us to go ahead without him. He will make sure we get the sensors we need to drive off the hogs. Three little pigs have put my dreams on hold.


Chapter 2

Mutton Bustin’

Three hours later, Mom, Cole and I stroll through the crowds at the Houston Rodeo.

Cole is in the first grade. Mom thinks he’s as cute as can be. To me, he’s a royal pain.

“Stop stepping on the back of my shoe,” I demand through gritted teeth. This was the fourth time he’d bumped into me.

“Mooom, Sophie pinched me,” he whines.

“If you two don’t stop bickering, we’re heading home,” Mom warns.

We pipe down. We’ve been waiting for the rodeo all week. The month-long event includes carnival rides, a livestock show and concerts featuring various singers. We usually go to several activities at the rodeo before it is over, so we will probably make another trip when Dad can join us.

This morning, Mom is taking us to the Kid Kountry agriculture section that teaches about everything that goes into running a farm, from a kid’s point of view. They have a birthing center where cows, sheep and pigs are born, and show baby chicks hatching from eggs. A section on plants shows how cotton grows and how it is made into cloth. There are also pony rides and a petting zoo where you can pet live goats, sheep, pigs, rabbits and other animals.

What Cole and I love best are the pig races and the Mutton Bustin’ contests. Pigs of all shapes and sizes run around a track in the races, which are always fun to watch. In Mutton Bustin’, smaller kids put on helmets and vests, then hold onto a sheep’s wool while it runs and bucks. The child that stays on the longest wins a trophy. I’d always wanted to try Mutton Bustin’, but never had the nerve. Now that I’m 10, I’m too old to try. The riders have to be from five to six years old and weigh no more than 60 pounds.

We spend at least two hours looking at all the animal booths, and even see some piglets that were born just that morning. They are no bigger than my hand, and so wiggly and cute. Their mother is named Miss Piggy.

“I wonder if they are related to the pigs that were in our yard,” I joke to Mom.

After a lunch of huge, smoked turkey legs, lemonade and funnel cakes, we make our way over to the Pig Races and Mutton Bustin’ tents. It looks like we missed the last pig races, but a sign says Mutton Bustin’ is going to start in about 15 minutes.

“We are just about ready to begin Mutton Bustin’,” says the announcer, “But we need two more riders to round out our group.”

“Mommy, Mommy, I want to sign up!” says Cole, jumping up and down.

“I don’t know how safe it is, honey,” Mom says.

“All riders wear helmets and vests for safety,” says the announcer, as if in answer to her fears.

“Please Mom. I know I can do it,” Cole begs. “Last year you said I could try when I was six.”

Mom nods her head yes and Cole races over to the announcer.

“Wait for us, Cole!” she says, following close behind.

“I can’t believe you’re letting him do this!” I say. “That’s not fair! I always wanted to try Mutton Bustin’ and you never let me.”

“I don’t remember you ever asking to do Muttin Bustin’, Sophie,” says Mom.

“I never did, but I always wanted to!” I respond irritably. “You let Cole do everything.”

The announcer takes Cole into a holding area with about five other kids. We watch as they put on his helmet and vest.

“Hold tight to the sheep and don’t let go,” Mom instructs Cole, who nods his head.

“Is that thing heavy?” I ask, rapping my knuckles on the helmet.

Mom and I have to leave the back area right before the contest begins. We sit in the bleachers in the front row so we’ll see all the action.

The first contestant steps forward in the ring. Her blond curls hang out of the sides of her helmet. She wears pink cowboy boots.

“Let’s all welcome Lisbeth,” says the announcer. “Her favorite food is chicken nuggets, and when she grows up she wants to be a fairy princess.”

Lisbeth is swooped onto the back of a sheep named Lambchop and the Mutton Bustin’ fun begins. Lambchop arches her back and shakes from side to side. She does not want anyone on her back. Despite all the movement, Lisbeth stays on a full 15 seconds. She curtsies for the audience, once she dusts herself off after her fall.

Taylor, the next contestant, starts crying when they try to put him on the sheep and refuses to get on, so he is taken out of the ring.

Next is Cole’s turn. He looks kind of small standing there beside the sheep, but he doesn’t seem scared at all.

“Let’s give a big welcome to Cole,” yells the announcer. “His favorite food is pizza, and when he grows up he wants to be a dentist, just like his Dad.”

“I’ll have to tell your father about that,” smiles Mom.

Cole’s sheep is named Baabara. When they place him on the sheep, Cole tries to sit up straight, but is soon leaning to the side and holding on for dear life. He makes his way halfway down the center of the ring on the back of his sheep and lasts a full 35 seconds. Mom snaps a photo of him before he falls off. The crowd of at least 200 goes wild.

“Let’s hear it for Cole and his sheep, Baabara!” screams the announcer.

We go back to get him and he grins from ear to ear, showing off the gap from his missing front tooth.

“I did it, Mom! I did it!”

“Great job, honey,” says Mom, giving him a hug.

She takes his helmet and vest off, and we go back out to watch the last boy get ready for his ride.

“Brandon’s favorite food is barbecue ribs,” says the announcer, “and he wants to be a rodeo rider when he grows up.” Brandon beats Cole’s time by 10 seconds. He also rips the back of his jeans while he struggles to hold onto his sheep named Baaby.

“Look, he even wore cowboy underwear,” points Cole, after he notices that the briefs under Brandon’s torn jeans have horses and cows on them.

“Now that’s a real cowboy,” laughs Mom.

When we get home, Mom shows Dad the picture of Cole hanging tight on Baabara.

“I didn’t know I was raising a cowboy,” he smiles, patting Cole’s head.

Dad shows us where he’s hooked up sensors to keep the wild pigs from coming back. A lawn service will come next week to add new grass.

The conversation turns back to the spelling bee.

“I was in a bee once when I was your age,” remembers Dad. “I didn’t study much, so I didn’t do well. That’s why I want you to make sure you review all the words carefully after you sign up Monday.”

I nod my head yes and fake a smile.

I’m going to kill Cole. I had hoped to not sign up for the contest. Who wants to spend all their extra time studying spelling words for some silly bee? And I definitely don’t want to stand up in front of all the other fifth graders and spell words. What if I miss something easy and everyone laughs?

“Bee” is a good name for this spelling contest, all right. I can think of nothing better than flying off somewhere as fast as a hornet, or stinging that bratty brother of mine!


Chapter 3

Mr. Know-It-All

My stomach is in knots the entire drive to school Monday morning. Rain pours down in buckets and the gray sky matches my mood. Today is the day I have to sign up for the spelling bee.

Cole looks out the window or thumbs through his Video Rangers handbook, which gives detailed information about all the Video Rangers characters. Last night, I forgave him for telling Mom and Dad about the spelling bee after he’d let me eat the last chocolate chip cookie left in the jar and promised to make my bed for the rest of the week.

I shift uncomfortably in my seat. My uniform shirt feels even scratchier than usual. Most of the other kids on our block go to the neighborhood school, but Mom drives us to Xavier Academy, a private school across town.

Ever since kindergarten, I’ve been begging to switch to the school in our subdivision so we can ride on a yellow school bus, and wear regular clothes to school instead of uniforms, like most normal people, but Mom isn’t having it. “Xavier offers the best elementary and middle school educations in this area, and you’ll appreciate it when you’re older,” she says. So, it looks like we’re stuck with navy pants and skirts, polo shirts and oxfords, and loads of homework every night, at least until high school.

As she cruises into the carpool lane, Mom turns to Cole and me with a smile. “Have a great day, kids. Cole, remember to turn in that permission slip I put in your backpack for the field trip next week And don’t forget to sign up for the spelling bee, Sophie.”

“Okay Mom; see you later,” we say. We heft our heavy backpacks from the backseat and dodge a huge puddle as we make our way into the school entrance. I turn left and Cole turns right once we enter the front door of the school. He goes to the kinder, first and second grade wing and I head toward the fifth-grade classrooms. Unlike the younger grade kids, we have actual lockers and switch classes to get us ready for middle school.

My best friend, Chloe Hopkins, runs toward me as I near Mrs. Green’s room. “Hey Sophie! How was your weekend? Did you watch that new show I told you about on Saturday?”

As usual, Chloe looks super cute. She jazzed up her uniform with red, high-top tennis shoes and patterned knee socks that match the red logo on our navy school sweaters. Her long, curly black hair is pulled back with a black headband with a red silk rose on the side, and she’s wearing pearl drop earrings in her pierced ears.


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