Parable recommended!


Sophie and her friends launch an "archaeological expedition" and make a disturbing discovery. Sophie keeps digging to uncover a shocking family secret. In light of this new revelation, will she ever be able to trust her parents again?


  • SKU: 9780310707578
  • UPC: 025986707576
  • SKU10: 0310707579
  • Title: Sophie's Secret
  • Series: Faithgirlz!: Sophie
  • Qty Remaining Online: 5
  • Publisher: Zonderkidz
  • Date Published: Aug 2004
  • Pages: 128
  • Illustrated: Yes
  • Age Range: 9 - 12
  • Grade Level: 4th Grade thru 7th Grade
  • Weight lbs: 0.40
  • Dimensions: 8.64" L x 6.36" W x 0.34" H
  • Features: Price on Product, Illustrated, Ikids
  • Themes: Theometrics | Evangelical; Geographic Orientation | Virginia; Holiday | Thanksgiving;
  • Subject: Religious - Christian - General

Chapter Excerpt

Chapter One

You can't IMAGINE what it was like!" the tour guide said in a voice that echoed over the James River like a cranky old aunt.

Huh, thought Sophie. Maybe YOU can't imagine it, Mister Mouth-but I can!

Sophie LaCroix pulled her black wool cape around her-the one Mama had made her just for this sightseeing trip-and tried to bunch her long, not-quite-blonde-not-quite-brown hair into the hood to muffle Mr. Mouth's voice. How was she supposed to concentrate on the delicious realness of Jamestown Island, with this guy barging into the quiet, telling her that she, Sophie LaCroix, "couldn't imagine?"

Imagining is my specialty, she wanted to inform him. Have YOU ever imagined YOURself back in the eighteenth century, acted it out, and made a film of it? Sophie sniffed. Probably NOT.

She edged away from the guide and gazed across the river. In the film they'd just watched in the Visitors' Center-well, SHE and Mama had actually watched it while her thirteen-year-old sister Lacie and Aunt Bailey had made fun of the narrator talking like he had a chip bag clip on his nose-the narrator's voice had described the river as "a salty brine at high tide and a blend of slime and filth at low." Sophie wanted to repeat this to her best friend, Fiona, back at school, and maybe they could start saying that about the Poquoson River in THEIR town. It would sound so cool. So would "the drear dark sky"-which did stretch over the river on that day-after-Thanksgiving and slowly soak them with drizzle. Mama had wanted her to put on a plastic poncho, but that would totally ruin the effect of the cape.

Besides, Sophie thought, I'm sure Captain John Smith didn't have a plastic raincoat back in 1607. No, this experience had to be as real as she could make it-so she and Fiona and Kitty could develop their next movie about it.

Because, of course, that's what they-the Corn Flakes-would have to do as soon as Thanksgiving vacation was over. A "cheerless sky" and the possibility of cruel diseases "such as swellings, fluxes, and burning fevers" like the film had described: that stuff was too good to waste. Sophie stretched out her hands to the river.

Antoinette called silently to God to help her know the secrets that lay at the slimy, filthy river bottom. Antoinette's heart began to pound as she found herself at the brink of some new mission-some fascinating adventure-some brilliant endeavor that would make Papa see once and for all that she was worthy of his honor and respect-

"Soph-what are you doing?"

Sophie felt a heavy hand on her shoulder, and she had to scurry back from Antoinette's world to focus up at her father. He was towering over her, and nobody could tower like way-tall Daddy with his broad, I-used-to-be-a-football-star shoulders and his sharp blue eyes, so unlike Sophie's soft brown ones. In fact, Sophie always thought that if somebody lined up a dozen fathers and asked a stranger to pick out which one was hers, they'd never get the right one.

"We're all headed up to the fort," Daddy said.

"Can't I just stay and look at the river for a couple more minutes?" Sophie said.

Daddy shook his big dark head. "No, because next thing I know you'll be in it. We're working as a team today."

Sophie muttered an "okay" and tried to wriggle her shoulder out of his hand, but he had the Daddy Grip on it.

"No way, Soph," he said. "I don't want a repeat of that Williamsburg thing."

Sophie didn't remind him that she had grown WAY up since THAT happened back in September. What would be the point? she thought as she broke into a jog to keep up with him. He thinks I'm the biggest ditz in the universe and he always will. And it's SO not fair!

"I wish you would've let me bring my video camera," she said.

Daddy gave a grunt. "Uh-huh-then I'd have to keep you on a leash." He stopped about six feet from a statue where Mama, her little brother Zeke, Lacie, and Aunt Bailey and Uncle Preston were gathered.

Wonderful, Sophie thought. He's going to give me a lecture right here where they can all hear. She wished she'd never asked the question.

At least Daddy squatted down in front of her, so his voice wouldn't boom down to her tiny height, but he still didn't let go of her shoulder. It was all she could do not to squirm.

"Look, we've had this discussion before," he said.

Yeah, about sixty bajillion times, Sophie thought.

"Everything is not always all about you," he went on.

It NEVER is!

"We're here to do what Aunt Bailey and Uncle Preston want to do, because they're our guests. I don't think that includes standing there watching you stare at the river for an hour, dreaming up trouble."

Sophie straightened her thin shoulders under Daddy's hand. "I was starting an idea for our next film."

"Well, take notes or something." Daddy stood up. "Are you going to stay with the team, or do I have to hold your hand like a little kid? That would be pretty embarrassing for an eleven-year-old."

That was actually a tough question. Sophie did NOT want to be on any kind of "team" with her own sister, much less her aunt and uncle. But the thought of trailing behind her father all day was worse. She gave a sigh from her heels that blew the little wisps of hair on her forehead. It wasn't wasted on Daddy.

"Don't be a drama queen about it," he said, his eyes narrowed. "Just think of it as taking a hit for the team." He nodded toward the statue. "Let's go."

Sophie waited until he finally let go of her shoulder, and then she squared herself off again and headed toward the "team."

Antoinette tossed back her long, luxurious hair and put on a smile. She couldn't let Papa take away the chance to pay her respects to her ancestor, Captain John Smith. He wasn't French like she was, of course, but she thought of him as her forefather because he, like her, had been a pioneer, a taker of risks, a person who stood up against things more evil than good-

"Oh wow-he was a total BABE!"

Sophie glared at Lacie.

"I mean, look at that BODY," Lacie said. She was gaping up at the statue.

Aunt Bailey sidled up next to Lacie. "That's what I'M talkin' about."

Five-year-old Zeke furrowed his little dark brows at Aunt Bailey. "WHAT are you talkin' about?" he said.

Mama cocked her head, all curly with frosted hair, and gave Sophie's aunt a hard look. "Thank you, Bailey," she said.

Aunt Bailey covered her very-red lips with her hand-with its nails all squared off and white at the tips-and giggled in Lacie's direction. Although Aunt Bailey was OLD, like probably thirty, Sophie thought she acted like she was Lacie's age.

"That's John Smith, Z," Daddy said to Zeke. "You remember him from Pocahontas?"

"Oh, yeah," Zeke said. He cocked his head just the way Mama did, though his hair was dark like Daddy's, and it stood straight up in coarse, little spikes on his head. "Did they get married?"

"Nah," Daddy said. "They might have gone out a few times, but she married somebody else."

"She married John Rolfe, Daddy," Sophie said. "And I'm SURE she never went on a date with Captain John Smith."

Uncle Preston gave Daddy a nudge with his elbow. "Silly you," he said to him.

Then Daddy gave one of those only-one-side-of-his-mouth-going-up smiles that made Sophie want to punch something. He might as well just come right out and SAY I'm a little know-it-all, Sophie thought. Because that's what he thinks.

"Watch your tone, Sophie," Daddy said.

WHAT tone? Sophie thought. I was just sharing information! "All right, folks, now if you'll just follow me," Mr. Mouth was saying. "I'm going to take you to the 1607 James Fort site. I think you'll be fascinated by what I have to tell you." He puffed up his chest.

"Now, the question many folks ask me is why do we need to dig up remnants of a civilization that no longer exists?"

"That would be MY question," Lacie muttered to Aunt Bailey. They rolled their eyes in unison.

"Here is the best answer I can give you," Mr. Mouth went on. "The present is better understood when viewed through the lenses of the past-"

Sophie jerked her head around, so that her face was sideways in the hood. Even before she could straighten it out, her mind was teeming.

The lenses of the past! she thought. The lenses of my camera-that's what they are: "the lenses of the past."

She really did wish she could take notes-although she was pretty sure she would remember a gem like THAT. Fiona was going to be so impressed.

Sophie stood on a low concrete wall so she could get a better of view of Mr. Mouth. He was now shouting like Lacie's soccer coach, but at least he was finally saying something she wanted to hear.

"That's why it's so significant for archaeologists here at Jamestown to find, for instance, the remains of the fort, " he said, "because it was the center of their life, and this is where they set the precedents for our representative government and legal code."

Sophie didn't know what "precedents" were, but she was sure Fiona would. She stood on her tiptoes to see where Mr. Mouth was now pointing. There were several men wearing hard hats and very dirty clothes, down on their hands and knees, making tiny digs in the dirt with pointed instruments that looked like pens.

"You can see how precise the techniques are," Mr. Mouth said. "But this is the way they discovered the rest of the palisade of the fort. It's called a trenching technique. They're following the white blocks in the ground where they think the palisades were."

"Whatever," Lacie mumbled. Aunt Bailey, of course, nodded. Sophie moved a few more inches away from them on top of the low wall and craned her neck to see the map Mr. Mouth was holding.

"We know where to dig for PHYSICAL evidence-such as building ruins and artifacts-by using the DOCUMENTARY evidence we find. This is a map left by one of the secretaries of the first General Assembly, giving the measurements!"

Mr. Mouth was so delighted with THAT piece of information, he sprayed the people who were standing directly in front of him with enthusiastic spit.

"Gross me out," Lacie whispered to Aunt Bailey.

"We might need those plastic ponchos after all," Aunt Bailey whispered back.

Mama turned and gave Lacie a don't-be-disrespectful look. Sophie would have taken a minute to enjoy that if she hadn't wanted to hear every word Mr. Mouth was saying. She decided to call him Mr. Messenger instead.

He's like a messenger of knowledge from the past, she thought. She KNEW Fiona would be impressed with THAT.

"These archaeologists have uncovered over 350 thousand artifacts dating to the first half of the seventeenth century," Mr. Messenger said. "They have even excavated two large trash pits."

"They dug through the garbage?" Lacie said. This time it didn't come out in a whisper, and Mr. Messenger turned to her with wide eyes, as if he were overjoyed that she'd asked that question.

"Yes, young lady!" he said. "You would be amazed what we can learn about a society from its refuse. In fact, well-preserved trash is a Jamestown treasure!"

Sophie made a mental note of that. Lacie turned to Aunt Bailey and wrinkled her nose.

"I don't think I'd want to know THAT bad," she murmured.

"As you can see," Mr. Messenger said, "they are still working. Where I'm going to take you next, they are excavating what may have been a graveyard."

"This just keeps getting better and better," Aunt Bailey whispered. "First old garbage, now dead bodies."

"And then we'll watch the further excavation of a well," Mr. Messenger continued. "They've already found a metal armor breastplate-"

"Now THAT's a bra," Aunt Bailey said behind her hand to Lacie. "Speaking of bras, we need to go shopping. I know you're wearing the wrong size right now."

Sophie could feel her face going crimson. She checked out her parents to see if they were hearing all this, but Mama was deep in conversation with one of the archaeologists, and Daddy was watching Mama, his arms folded and his head bent toward Uncle Preston.

"What do you want to bet Lynda is at this moment giving that guy directions to our home?" Sophie heard Daddy say. "The woman never meets a stranger."

Mr. Messenger was winding up his explanation before they moved on, and Sophie was now having a harder time focusing on him with all those other conversations going on around her. She leaned out just a tiny bit more.

"When we go into the tent where the archaeologists are working on the well site," Mr. Messenger said, "you will see them using very small trowels to scrape one eighth of an inch of earth at a time and then sweep it into five gallon buckets. All that dirt goes through a screen-"

"Uh-oh," Daddy said to Uncle Preston. "There go all my buckets. Lynda will be down here tomorrow with ten of them and a half a dozen gardening shovels."

Daddy! Sophie wanted to shout at him. I can't concentrate!

She leaned out just a little more-and suddenly she was on the ground, tumbling down the incline toward the river. She tried to grab onto something to stop herself, but she was tangled up in her cape, and half the hood was covering her face. Arms flailing, she knew she had to be within inches of the water, and all she could think was, If I fall in, I'm going to be in SO much trouble!

And then something stopped her, and Sophie clung to it with both cape-entangled arms. With a jerk of her neck, she got the hood off her face and found herself looking up at Mr. Messenger. She was hanging onto his legs. It was the closest she had been to him, and now she could see that his eyes were twinkling.

"No swimming allowed, missy," he said.

He gave her a grin and a hand to haul herself up with. She dusted off her cape, and then she curtsied.

"Thank you, kind sir," she said.

He dipped into a deep bow. "You are quite welcome, m'lady."

Behind her, Sophie could hear Lacie wailing, "She did NOT just curtsy to that guy!"

And she could hear Zeke yelling, "Mama! Sophie almost fell in the water!"

But all she really LISTENED to were the words of Mr. Messenger as he smiled down at her.

"You are a student of history, aren't you?" he said.

"I am. I make my own historical films-well, with my friends."

"And I imagine they are spectacular. How would you like to take a peek under these tarps here and see the chimney foundation and the floorboards of a house they've found?"

Sophie looked over at an area as big as their garage at home that was covered with a sheet of thick green plastic, and her heart started to pound.

"Oh, yes, sir, please!" Antoinette cried.



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