It’s still sitting on my bookshelf, dust collecting amongst its pages for the last seventeen years. The last time I read Howlday Inn by James Howe I was a third grader, excited at my ability to read chapter books while most kids still struggled to read at all. The Bunnicula series marked the beginning of my habit to tear through entire books in single sittings, unable to put captivating stories down. It never mattered if I had a test or work at 6am the next morning, I would know the conclusion before I got into the shower.
I fell in love with Bunnicula, the first book, and when I saw Howlday Inn in the Book Fair flyer, I knew I had to have it. I remember that I had been obsessed with two books at the fair, Howlday Inn and Graeme Base’s Animalia. When I say obsessed, I really mean it; I couldn’t leave that Book Fair without them. Vividly, I remember going up to the register with them and being heartbroken that I was short of funds, and I pleaded with the attendant that I needed them. Another student’s mother, who happened to be there, and who also happened to be standing near by, came over to gave me the extra two dollars that I needed, telling me that she was impressed that a nine year old was so passionate about books. I don’t recall ever being happier as a child than when I walked out of that Fair with the two.
After school, I devoured page after page, and even at lights out, I pulled the covers over my head and dug out my trusty flashlight. I had read Bunnicula that way, under the covers with a flashlight, as well as Return to Howlday Inn and The Celery Stalks at Midnight, the latter books of the series. And with each book of the series, whenever I began to read for a sitting, the first thing I did: crack the page open to where I left off and breathe in deeply.
Other book enthusiasts won’t think I’m crazy, because I know I’m not the only one who smells the lovely pages of a new or worn book. But, with the Bunnicula series, there’s something very different and comforting about the smell. It’s unique; I could pick it out of a thousand book scents if I had to. Even to this day, I can still inhale the scent of the pages of Howlday Inn and take myself back to being nine again, under my Lion King comforter with a flashlight. Though I can’t remember the events of any of the Bunnicula novels, save the names of a few characters, I always remember how it felt to fall in love with books.