Even First Dog Bo gets in on the dramatic literary action...
During a stop at the Storytime Stage at Monday's White House Easter Egg Roll, the First Family gave dramatic readings of kids' classics to a group of about 100 elementary-school aged kids. Under the spreading branches of a magnolia tree in the center of the South Lawn, they sat on white chairs on a grass-green stage surrounded by lush flower arrangements. President Obama has hailed author Maurice Sendak's classic Where the Wild Things Are as one of his favorite books, and as he read it he got so carried away with recreating the howling of protagonist Max that he set First Dog Bo to barking as First Lady Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha looked on, giggling.
"I love this book," the President said before he started roaring. "It is a great book." Most of the kids in the audience raised their hands when the President asked who else loved the book.
The kids--and a big crowd watching from behind a fence that separated the Storytime Garden from the rest of the South Lawn--howled and waved their own "claws" in the air as the President urged them to participate in the book's wild rumpus, an amusing embroidery on this year's Egg Roll theme, “Let’s Go, Let’s Play, Let’s Move!” (Above: The President shows his claws)
The First Lady was dressed in bright blue purple pants, an orange shirt, a yellow cardigan, and bright blue ballet flats, and sat with her legs wrapped around Bo. The President was in shirtsleeves and khakis, clad for a little basketball with the kids after the reading.
Before the President's round of roaring, he'd introduced his daughters as "the two best readers in the family," and the girls traded off reading pages of A Sick Day for Amos McGee, by author Philip C. Stead.
After the President and the girls left to hit the basketball court, Mrs. Obama stayed on the Storytime Stage and gave an engaging solo reading of The Little Mouse and The Red Ripe Strawberry and the Hungry Bear, by authors Don Wood and Audrey Wood. (Above: Mrs. Obama reading solo)
"One of my favorites," Mrs. Obama said of the book.
She pulled her chair forward to be closer to the kids, inviting them to guess what happened next as she went through the story.
After he reading, Mrs. Obama visited the "Play with Your Food" activity area by her Kitchen Garden, and cooked with celebrity guest chef Marcus Samuelsson.
Actress Julianne Moore, due to read after the First Family, was spotted near the stage. Also scheduled for readings: Actor Forest Whitaker, Robin Roberts, Jeff Kinney from Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Etan Thomas, and Bella Thorne, and Michael Chang, among others. First Grandmother Marian Robinson read The Rainbow Fish by by Marcus Pfister. More than 35,000 visitors made their way through the South Lawn today in groups of 6,000 people, for the largest Easter Egg Roll in White House history.
Mrs. Robinson reads:
DOWNLOAD the 2012 White House Easter Egg Roll Program by clicking here; it describes the events and stations on the South Lawn [PDF]. CLICK HERE for all posts about the Roll.
*Photos by Eddie Gehman Kohan/Obama Foodorama