Presenting information about the sense of smell to young children is challenging because smell isn't a visual concept. However, there are a number of preschool books available that successfully do address this sense. While some bring aromas directly to the reader, others rely on more conceptual tools.
1. Scratch and Sniff Books
"Little Bunny Follows His Nose" by Katherine Howard was first published in 1971. Updated in 2004, kids will likely love sniffing all the scents that Bunny smells on a sunny day. The "Mo's Nose" series by Margaret Hyde stars a dog with an exceptional sense of smell. "Mo Smells Red" and "Mo Smells Green" are just two of the volumes available. "Mo Smells the Holidays" is one of the several holiday-themed books available in the series.
2. Books on Noses
Since we smell with our noses, the nose becomes an obvious focus point for teaching preschoolers about the sense of smell. "Let's Look at Animal Noses" by Wendy Perkins introduces kids to the noses of a variety of wild and domestic animals via 4-color photographs -- and explains how the animals use their noses. "Who Needs That Nose" by Karen Clemens Warrick is another introduction to animal noses and how they work. It uses illustrations to depict some of the stranger noses of the animal kingdom such as the star nose of the star-nosed mole. "Noses Are For Picking: The Sense of Smell" by Katherine Hengel is likely to especially amuse preschoolers. Playful photographs of children illustrate everyday nose-centered activities.
3. Classic Story Books
Several classic books for children happen to have scent-centric storylines. "Ferdinand the Bull" by Munro Leaf stars a bull who hates fighting and prefers to sniff roses. One of the best-selling children's books of all time, this story is often used to teach a lesson in nonviolence, but it can also be used in smell-centric lesson plans. "The Nose Book" by Al Perkins is from the Bright and Early Beginning Readers series -- the same series as the "Cat in the Hat" -- and features catchy rhyming verse in Seussian style.
4. The Science of Smell
Some excellent books about the sense of smell for children are in the nonfiction category. "Smell" by Maria Rius and J.M. Parramon is part of Barron's series on the five senses and includes simple anatomical diagrams and a section for parents and educators. "Smell It!" by Sally Hewitt playfully introduces kids to the science of smell using photographs. The book outlines five simple activities children can try to learn more about their sense of smell.
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