While presidents George W. Bush and Alvaro Uribe talked about trade and the war on drugs, U.S. first lady Laura Bush chased the moon with Kitten and a group of underprivileged Colombian children.
Escorted by Colombian first lady Lina Moreno, Bush - a former librarian and teacher - visited a children's library in Bogota's old town where she read, in English, a personal favorite: "Kitten's First Full Moon," by Kevin Henkes, about a hungry cat who confuses the full moon with a bowl of milk.
"I love to read, do you like to read?" said Bush, before being drowned out by a unison shout in agreement by the children gathered at the Rafael Pombo foundation, a reading center named for 19th century author on whose moral fables generations of Colombians have been raised.
The group of 16 children were from a school on Bogota's poor outskirts underwritten by a foundation belonging to Colombia's hip-shaking pop diva Shakira.
The children looked on in minor disbelief when, in response to a child's question, the first lady said she really was the wife of President Bush.
But their faces lit up, and adult onlookers broke into laughter, when she continued "and there's your president's wife," pointing to the back of the room where Moreno waved, the AP said.
After the reading, Bush handed out books, stars and stripes kaleidescopes and picture postcards of her own black cat, White House resident Willie, to exuberant children who paid no attention to vigilant U.S. Secret Service agents when rushing toward the first lady for a round of hugs.
The reading session lasted about 20 minutes, during a hurried six-hour stay in Bogota by the U.S. delegation. The first ladies also visited a school where artisans exhibited wooden dolls, crochet table liners and leather goods.
Alejandro Ramos, 7, said he was thrilled to meet both first ladies. Summing up the chummy spirit of the Colombia-U.S. encounter, he said he was sure the United States was located "almost, almost next to Colombia."
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