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Q: George W. Bush Quotes ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: George W. Bush Quotes
Category: Reference, Education and News > Current Events
Asked by: seattle_surfer-ga
List Price: $2.50
Posted: 25 Aug 2005 16:17 PDT
Expires: 24 Sep 2005 16:17 PDT
Question ID: 560549
Did George Bush ever actually name "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" as
his favorite book?  I know that he once said it was his favorite (or
one of his favorite books from when he was a child).  I know also that
the book wasn't published until he was in his 20s.  I know that he has
often called it his favorite children's book.  But has he ever simply
called it his "favorite book".
     I feel like Anthony Lane did a piece in the new yorker magazine
in the summer/fall of 2000 where he wrote about Gore and Bush having
both gone on Oprah where they answered a similar slate of questions. 
I had thought the Gore said his favorite book was "the Red and the
Black" and Bush said his favorite book (not children's book, not book
from his childhood) but his favorite book was "The Very Hungry
    Is this just Blue State Echo Chamber Hum-Bug?
Subject: Re: George W. Bush Quotes
Answered By: denco-ga on 25 Aug 2005 20:00 PDT
Howdy seattle_surfer-ga,

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
for that.'"

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
first billion.'"

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.

Search strategy:

Google search on: "Very Hungry Caterpillar" Bush President OR George

Looking Forward, denco-ga - Google Answers Researcher
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