I wish I could tell you that my favorite Christmas book is something like A Child’s Christmas in Wales or A Christmas Carol, or another equally respected title. Those are really good books, but to be honest, my favorite Christmas book is The Sweet Smell of Christmas by Patricia M. Scarry, the wife of Richard Scarry. The Sweet Smell of Christmas has cool scrach-n-stiff strips where you can “smell” pine cones and candy canes and apple pie. When I think of the stories I loved most as a child, this is one of them. It makes me think of my sisters who both loved the little bear and makes me laugh to remember how much we loved scratching the orange and passing it around. I can still remember the words on the first page without looking: “One morning little bear woke up and sniffed and sniffed with his nose. Something wonderful is going to happen today, he said. My nose tells me so.” The words may be different in the newer (2003) edition, but that’s how the story began in 1970.
I love looking at Christmas books, and a few new ones enter the school library’s collection every year, but as wonderful as they are, none of them will replace Patricia Scarry’s little bear in my heart – or my nose.