Stacy A. Anderson, Associated Press
WASHINGTON - A teeth-gnashing U.S. president reprised what has become an annual at the Easter Egg Roll Monday by reading the Maurice Sendak classic Where the Wild Things Are to children gathered on the White House lawn.
With a group of children arrayed before him for the colourful springtime ritual on the White House South Lawn, Barack Obama mimicked the book's monsters, growling and challenging the youngsters to a staring contest.
Under sunny skies with mere wisps of clouds overhead Monday, First Lady Michelle Obama was flanked by the president and an Easter bunny on the White House's Truman Balcony as she said the emphasis of the 136th Easter Egg Roll would be healthy eating and staying active.
The event's theme was "Hop into Healthy, Swing into Shape" and featured live music, yoga and obstacle courses in addition to the egg roll, sports and storytelling.
But if there was a feat he did not want to repeat, it was his 1-for-15 hoops shooting from last year. This time, the president, an avid basketball fan and pick-up game player, missed his first two shots from the foul line of the White House's outdoor court, and then sank his third.
Wearing khakis and with his sleeves rolled up, the president also hit tennis balls, posed for photographs and joined his wife in encouraging children in an Easter egg roll race.
Ms. Obama also participated in a healthy snack cooking demonstration with celebrity chef Marc Murphy and cast members of Disney's "Jessie." The group prepared fruit salad with honey and kale smoothies.
"I have a smoothie like this almost every day," she said, adding that she likes to include green apples and ginger in her green drink.
Ms. Obama did her own storytelling, making an appearance with the family's dogs, Sunny and Bo, who quickly disappeared for their own walks with National Park Service staffers. The first lady read My Garden to the youngsters and asked what non-foods they would grow in their garden. After the children replied "money," she said, "Wow, this is a very sophisticated crew."
"You guys have big dreams," she added. "I love it."