The Breuers and Eva’s Library Loves

October 03, 2021

We are Eva (4), Callum (9), and Matthea (Mommy) and Pablo (Dada), and now that Dada has retired from active duty with the Navy, we are excited to have moved to a place and community we will get to stay in for a long time! Eva has said she hopes that “we never move again, that we live here for a million years, until Callum and I are grown-ups!” It’s true, Eva has lived in five houses in her four years, though she doesn’t remember the first two. Moving, whether local or cross-country, is stressful for parents and kids alike. We all have emotional and physical ties to places and the communities and friendships specific to those places, and the transitions into newness always bring unexpected shifts. One way Eva has found steadiness is in books — her own books, of course, and also books she’s fallen in love with at libraries.

If you’ve met her, you may have noticed Eva has an affinity for cats. We do not own cats, but she feels drawn to them, sometimes dresses as one, and often meows. Since the children’s section of a library can be overwhelming, I’ve found that doing a search in the online catalog for whatever is the subject du jour can help narrow things down. A librarian is always ready to help, too, no matter where we’ve lived. (Eva’s brother Callum had a love for triangles for a while in Monterey, California, and there are far fewer children’s triangle books* than you might imagine, wink, wink.) We did this search for cats at the Hillsborough County Public Library when we lived in Florida, and again at the Flower Mound library while staying with Eva’s grandmother, her Aya, for most of the summer. Both libraries had more picture books with cats as subject matter or in their titles than we could check out in one day. (I recommend asking upon first arrival what the limit on book checkout is, if your topic search results in dozens of books available. At the Flower Mound library, for instance, one library cardholder can check out 99 books at a time! I never learned the Hillsborough County checkout limit, but I did learn the limit for books on hold was only 25 or 30.) Perhaps it should be expected that children’s libraries might carry the same books — I certainly would expect any library to carry, for instance, “Goodnight Moon,” a selection of Dr. Seuss, another for Eric Carle’s works — Eva found a few cat books she loved, and we can honestly say we’ve checked them out in libraries across the country.

What subject calls to your kiddo at the library?

How to Be a Cat, Nikki McClure
Told in verbs only one to a page with black and white illustrations similar to silhouettes, this book is one a child can imitate and act out as she “reads.”

There Are Cats in This Book, Viviane Schwarz
Postmodern in that three cats speak to the reader, welcoming her to their world, even asking the reader to toss yarn, turn pages, and tuck them in. Flaps with more text beneath encourage even more involvement.

Cats Are a Liquid, Rebecca Donnely
Based on a scientific joke that reminds me of an emailed satire I fell for when the Internet was new, in which kittens were photographed in glass containers and needed rescuing from their plight — because *sometimes* cats fill their container, just like a liquid. Rhyming text a budding reader enjoys reciting here, too.

Finally, a book we found near the end of summer in a penguin search:
I Am Small, Emma Dodd
This one is not about cats at all, but is told from a penguin chick’s point of view. The book itself is physically small, and the text rhymes in simples sentences. Eva “read” it to us and even to herself over and over, and was sad to have to return it.

*Callum may have been the only patron ever to check out Triangles by David Adler — written for an audience a bit older than preschool, but charming for the right kid.
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