This "Clips" column from "Tribune's Shared News Service subscribers" dated
November 16, 1999, and written by Eric Lipton is an early reference to the
roots of the story.
"Bush, along with the nation's 49 other governors was asked by the Pizza
Hut -- as part of a nation-wide literacy campaign -- what his favorite books
were as a child. Bush cited "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," and "Sarah's Flag
for Texas" among 7 total as his personal favorites.
However, "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" was published in 1969, the same year
Bush graduated from Yale. And "Sarah's Flag for Texas" was published in 1993,
a year before Bush became governor of that same Texan flag.
Bush's aides blamed the mistake on a misunderstanding of the question. 'The
question we asked governors was what was their favorite childhood book --
that is, what was your favorite book when you were growing up?' said Boris
Weinstein, spokesman for Pizza Hut's literacy effort to the San Francisco
Chronicle. 'Maybe my question was misleading,' Weinstein said. 'I apologize
However, Bush must really like the story, as he was still reading it for
school children some two years later, as reported by Bill Duryea for the
St. Petersburg Times, as published August 23, 2001.
"He [Bush] won't stop reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
He did it through his decade long presidential campaign, regaling
unsuspecting grade schoolers from New Hampshire to Washington state with
the story of the caterpillar ..."
Indeed, this USA TODAY article by Jacqueline Blais and posted 7/12/2004
tells us what the New York Post reported in 2001.
"In summer 2001, the first year of George W. Bush's presidency, The New York
Post reported: 'Bush never, ever leaves home without his trusty copy of the
children's book The Very Hungry Caterpillar.'"
As to Anthony Lane, if anything, he was somewhat coming to Bush's aid in an
October, 2000 article. The St. Petersburg Times article referenced above
speaks to this.
"Anthony Lane, book critic for the New Yorker magazine, saw the book
as 'a matchless parable for the entrepreneurial right.'
'The caterpillar, far from being punished for his indulgence, suffers no more
than a mild stomach ache before being transformed into a butterfly,' he wrote
in October of last year. Conservative capitalists 'are thus assured of nothing
more than mildly discomforting taxation before they attain the bliss of their
Good news is in store for fans of the story, as the BloggingBaby blog writes
that the BBC News has reported that "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" might show
up on the big screen.
"BBC News reports that film and television rights have just been bought for
£1m (roughly $1.7m) ..."
As to your question, I could not find any evidence that Bush has ever said
that the "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" is his "favorite book" outside of the
context of the above references.
If you need any clarification, please feel free to ask.
Google search on: "Very Hungry Caterpillar" Bush President OR George
Looking Forward, denco-ga - Google Answers Researcher