If you’re a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, or friend of the family, you’ve perhaps endured the fury of a toddler compelled to listen to her favorite book with a word missed or a picture skipped. The point of the favorite book, for the listener, is that it remains the same. The more often the three-year-old hears the familiar sentences, the more content she appears. When a word changes, pleasure recedes: A beloved book has lost its identity. Trying to account for this passion for sameness, we may say that it reveals the toddler’s need for security. In a world crammed with new experiences, exciting yet unpredictable, the child treasures what she can hold on to. If even the book turns unpredictable, she loses what she has depended on. A friend’s personality has changed. We smile grown-up smiles at the child’s demand for perfect reiteration even if we retain that childish need in more acceptable form, addicted This story is from Kinfolk Issue Twenty-Three Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 43 Signal Boost How status anxiety drives culture. Arts & Culture Issue 39 Parental Control Teenagers are now discovering the digital footprint created for them by their parents. Tom Faber considers the dos and don’ts of “sharenting.” Arts & Culture Issue 39 Who’s Laughing Now? Stephanie d’Arc Taylor charts the decline of the late-night comedy format and considers the alternatives. Arts & Culture Issue 38 Memes of Communication A conversation about digital folklore. Arts & Culture Issue 37 Short Histories of Nearly Everything The bestsellers of the last decade look like a college reading list. Debika Ray looks at the rise of the “brainy book.” Arts & Culture Issue 36 Designated Drudgery How to take a load off.