Madonna Releases Latest Children's Book

If she keeps this up, people may eventually ask, "You mean Madonna (search) was once a singer?"

The Material Mom read her latest children's book — "Lotsa de Casha" (search) — to a group of elementary school students at a Borders bookstore in Manhattan Tuesday.

It's her fifth book in 18 months, and the fifth and final installment in a series.

Wearing an off-the-shoulder black Moschino top, a fitted black skirt and black stilettos, the one-time rocker showed up 45 minutes late.

She read to the students for a half-hour, made the barest minimum of small talk, and then departed without taking questions about her latest tome.

The book centers on Count Lotsa de Casha, a rich Italian greyhound who is in search of happiness.

One day, he ignores a poor dog who asks him for a handout. But later, when Lotsa is robbed by a group of thieves, the poor dog comes to his aide and he learns a timeless lesson of friendship.

Madonna employed a passable Italian accent whenever reading Lotsa's parts.

The book — beautifully illustrated by Portuguese muralist Rui Paes (search) — is peppered with preachy factoids, including this tidbit: "Just because something is expensive, doesn't mean it's worth it."

Each of the 27 students from PS 8 in Brooklyn Heights received an autographed copy of the 48-page book. More than 200 radio-contest winners were also on hand at the reading.

"My students love her books," said Nicholas Patrello, 24, a Bronx teacher who won the contest. "I told her that and I think she was happy to hear that I read her books in my class."

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