July 3, 2004

George W. Bush's 'My Pet Goat'

On the morning of September 11, 2001, George W. Bush was visiting the Emma E. Booker elementary school in Sarasota, Florida, where he read a book called "My Pet Goat" to a class of second graders.

With the release of Michael Moore's film, Farenheit 9/11, which includes almost never-before-seen footage from the classroom, "My Pet Goat" has received a level of presidential product placement we haven't seen since "Gap blue dress." [Granted, a different kind of 'endorsement.'] The only problem is finding the book; there's no children's book out there with that title.

Put your conspiracy theories away. Using clues in the footage (""Open
your book up to Lesson 60 on page 153."), an expert at Google Answers tracked down the story "The Pet Goat" to a series of schoolbooks for teaching reading. By matching the cover image, the expert identified the precise volume from the series. Here it is:

Reading Mastery II, Storybook 1,
by Siegfried Engelmann and Elaine Bruner
ISBN 0574101284
Publisher SRA/MacMillan/Mcgraw Hill
Used copies can be found on dealer networks like abebooks, and it's still available at Amazon, where reviewer "George W. Bush" declares: "'The Pet Goat' is great. You won't be able to put it down!" [thanks, Andy]

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