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Busta's Rap

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He's a giant phallus of a reading icon. But Busta the Bookworm, the creation of L.C. Bird High School technology teacher Kenneth Holmes, isn't into actually eating books -- the literal definition of "bookworm" — or perusing the pages of Playboy.

At 5 feet tall, the mechanical green worm rolls around by remote control and takes the voice of Holmes, via wireless microphone. Holmes created Busta, only one of his robotic creatures, to help him encourage elementary-school children to read.

"It's not often that Busta and I get two lovely lady visitors," Holmes says when a reporter and photographer from Style Weekly show up to interview the wormy one. He's a bit nerdy, in fact, donning a fuzzy hat with stars, matching bow tie and Buddy Holly-esque black-rimmed glasses.

"I was born with flavor," Busta says, eschewing any relation to rapper Busta Rhymes, even if his message is to "bust out" a book and read.

He's also not a hermaphrodite, but "all man. Larger than a normal worm, but still a worm … with green everything." He has a posse of robotic friends, including "Blue Boy," "Red Dog" and the not-so-robotic "Stuff Can."

He doesn't devour books, but likens reading to ingesting knowledge like a juicy cheeseburger with everything on it, he says. What about picture books, like, say, Playboy? Busta says he "is much too nice a worm for that … maybe." S



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