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Barbara Bush on the radio

Barbara Bush on the radio — The First Lady reads popular children’s books over the airwaves

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Thanksgiving is about turkey and pumpkin pie. It’s also about families spending time together. It’s this aspect of the holiday that most seems to interest First Lady Barbara Bush, who returns to radio this month for a second season of the weekly series Mrs. Bush’s Story Time. On her four-hour Thanksgiving special (expected to air on 200 ABC Radio affiliates), Mrs. Bush will read popular children’s books (including The Ugly Duckling and Curious George Rides a Bike) and occasionally turn the microphone over to other high- profile storytellers (Whitney Houston will read Keiko Kasza’s Wolf’s Chicken Stew).

Story Time is the work of Marcia Moon and Linda Katz, codirectors of the nonprofit Children’s Literacy Initiative in Philadelphia, who conceived the series as a way to encourage adults to read aloud with children. (This season’s lineup also includes 10 half-hour shows and a Christmas edition.) James Farley, the program’s executive producer, says Mrs. Bush is the ideal host. ”She was perfectly natural,” he says. And, says Katz, ”you can tell she reads a lot to her grandchildren.”

Mrs. Bush’s contribution isn’t limited to reading. She nabbed husband George to play himself in a brief rendition from Marc Brown’s Arthur Meets the President. Other coming attractions this season: Full House‘s Bob Saget and Jodie Sweetin reading The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash, Reba McEntire with Possum Comes A’knockin’, and Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee reading Flossie and the Fox.