Mid-week quick picks

It’s a crazy time of year, and I have a feeling most of you have little time to spare for reading reviews right now, so I’ll get right to it: Herewith, a list of this week’s best books, for kids from one to 92. Enjoy!

Miniature Treasures from Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House: A Sherlock Holmes Story: How Watson Learned the Trick, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; and J. Smith, by Fougasse; Candlewick Press, $25.00 each, all ages.

These miniatures are facsimiles of books in the library of Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House. (Check out the Guardian’s 2010 story about the miniature building and its contents.) While the originals remain on display at Windsor Castle, these tiny replicas are beautiful jewels available to everyone.

Frozen Wild: How Animals Survive in the Coldest Places on Earth, by Jim Arnosky; Sterling Children’s Books, $14.95, 32, pages, ages 6-10.

Award-winning author and illustrator Jim Arnosky has dedicated a career to crafting children’s literature with a focus on the natural world, and his latest offering doesn’t disappoint. Five stunning foldouts reveal where otters, beavers, penguins, and other creatures survive during the coldest months of the year, and points out animals most of us might see in our own backyards. A must-have for the budding naturalist. (Check back in a few weeks to read my interview with Arnosky!)

An A from Miss Keller, by Patricia Polacco; Putnam, $17.99, 40 pages, ages 5-8.

If you want to give a great gift to a teacher this year, make sure that An A From Miss Keller is in your child’s classroom or school library. “If anyone opens the world up to children, it is teachers,” says beloved author-illustrator Patricia Polacco, and in her sixth homage to educators (Thank You Mr. Falker is now an established schoolhouse classic), readers meet young Tricia, a nervous student in “Killer Keller’s” writing class. A sudden loss leaves the child feeling adrift, but Miss Keller helps Tricia channel those emotions into a powerful personal narrative. Don’t be surprised if you start tearing up while reading this one. 

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