cover image Tea Time with Sophia Grace and Rosie

Tea Time with Sophia Grace and Rosie

Sophia Grace Brownlee and Rosie McClelland, as told to Orli Zuravicky, illus. by Shelagh McNicholas. Scholastic/Orchard, $17.95 (40p) ISBN 978-0-545-50214-6

Brownlee and McClelland, British cousins whose singing performances on Ellen (covering the likes of Nicki Minaj and Alicia Keys) have made them media darlings of the moment, aren’t quite as charismatic on the page. In this run-of-the-mill story, the two—portrayed with abundant cutesiness in pencil and watercolor illustrations from McNicholas (Little Ballet Star)—plan a tea party. They create invitations for the sole guest each will invite, and transform their bedroom into “the fanciest, most sparkly castle that ever existed,” with help from magical fairy wands. The suspense revolves around who each girl will invite, though comments like “My guest has to be someone I can have loads of fun with, just like you!” leave little doubt as to the guest list. Rather than adding a clever twist, the idea that the girls can’t find anyone worth spending time with other than each other comes across as navel-gazing. Tips for throwing a tea party (“Make sure everyone has their own pretty place to sit with a pretty cup!”) are superfluous. An unabashedly girly offering that never takes off. Ages 3–5. (Feb.)