Local libraries celebrate Dr. Seuss' 108th birthday

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The 108th birthday of the late Dr. Seuss sparked celebrations and excitement for the children’s book author.

Bee Cave Public Library held the seventh annual “Seuss on the Loose” Saturday to honor the birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known for his pen name, Dr. Seuss.

Dr. Seuss fans of all ages gathered to read stories, play games and hear live music in celebration of the legendary author’s birthday. Although Geisel died in 1991, his books have continued to inspire children to expand their imaginations through reading, said Bee Cave Public Library director Barbara Hathaway. The latest film adapation of Seuss’ work, “The Lorax” opened in theaters Friday.

“The turnout has just been so great every year,” Hathaway said. “The first time we did this in 2006 we were in a little portable building and 50 people showed up. Now there are hundreds. Everyone just loves Dr. Seuss.”

Hathaway said the celebration is part of the National Education Association’s Read Across America Program with libraries all over the country hosting Dr. Seuss events.

Bee Cave Mayor Caroline Murphy participated and led children in the Reader’s Oath, a promise to read every day to “feed my brain.”

“Studies have shown reading every day has led to children making better grades in school and going on to have better lives,” Murphy said. “This is a beautiful day to be in our library and celebrate the life of a man who influenced so many people.”

Popular children’s singer Joe McDermott provided music and entertainment during the event and encouraged kids to get up, dance and sing. McDermott said that Dr. Seuss was a great influence to both himself and his friend, the late Stan Berenstain, co-author of the “Berenstain Bears” children’s books.

“I worked with Stan a lot on my music and Dr. Seuss was the one that talked him into writing children’s books. Dr. Seuss discussed ideas to Stan, and Stan would discuss those ideas with me,” McDermott said. “There is a lot of direct Dr. Seuss influence in my music.”

Catie Balagia said her three year-old daughter has “The Cat in Hat” memorized and it has helped her make observations about the world.

“We’ll just be sitting in the car and she’ll be like, ‘What rhymes with cat? Hat, sat, rat,’” Balagia said. “She knows all the characters and always wants to read the stories and do the activities to go along with them.”

Balagia said even as an adult she enjoys reading the stories because they are the same ones she grew up with.

“Dr. Seuss stories have been around so long they have influenced almost everyone alive today,” she said.

Undeclared freshman Annie Chang said she loves Dr. Seuss and has never met anyone who does not.

“Dr. Seuss is epic,” Chang said. “He has a lot of stories with lessons that carry on through your life. You read it when you’re a child and remember the message and go back to it as an adult to teach your kids.”

Printed on Monday, March 5, 2012 as: Dr. Seuss' birthday brings together people of all ages