WASHINGTON – Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening’s favorite children’s book is by an author from — gasp — New Jersey.
That’s OK, said Priscilla Cummings, a Maryland children’s book author, whose works include the series of books about Chadwick the Crab.
“[Glendening]’s a fan of Chadwick, too,” Cummings said Friday. “He once walked sideways in front of me and said, `Wouldn’t Chadwick be proud?'”
Glendening, who left Friday for a South American trade mission, could not be reached for comment and his office did not return phone calls about his selection of a favorite kid’s book.
All 50 governors were asked to name their favorite children’s books for Book It!, a national reading incentive program backed by Pizza Hut. Book It! director Eunice Ellis said gathering governor’s favorites was meant as a fun way to promote reading among children.
The list was released this week. Unlike many governors, who picked traditional titles such as “The Little Engine That Could” or “Green Eggs and Ham,” Glendening said his favorite children’s book was “The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash.”
“How cool is that?” said the book’s author, Trinka Hakes Noble. “I’m thrilled he picked it as his favorite.”
Governors’ selections ranged from Louis L’Amour westerns — the favorites of Minnesota Reform Party Gov. Jesse Ventura — to “Curious George Rides a Bike” for Republican Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Almond and Republican Wyoming Gov. Jim Gerringer’s rather grown-up choice, “Moby Dick.”
Glendening’s pick is about a school field trip gone awry when a boy’s 30- foot pet snake gets loose, setting in motion a chain reaction of slapstick events on the farm the children are visiting.
Noble, who grew up on a farm in Michigan, said she wanted to write a story about a boy “who got into a lot of mischief.”
Carla Golembe, a children’s author in Silver Spring who has written two books and illustrated seven, said it is important to promote reading in kids.
“Children are the first readers,” she said. “That’s where an appreciation for art and literature, humor and empathy, starts.”
“Children’s books help children open their imaginations,” she said. “They can help children work through issues that may be going through. I know it made a big difference in my life.”
Noble said she could not even hazard a guess as to why Glendening chose her book as his favorite.
“Hey, the guy’s got great taste in writing,” she said with a laugh. “What can I say?”
But while Glendening is apparently a big fan of Noble’s, she still has a few things to learn about her latest admirer.
“His name is Governor Parris, right?” she said. “If he wants an autographed copy, I’ll have to get him one.”