VERO BEACH – Dads, granddads and kids, along with some moms and grandmas, descended on the Children’s store at the Vero Beach Book Center for “Dads and Donuts,” a child-centered celebration of Father’s Day.
Kids of all ages, ranging from squirmy infants all the way up to animated preteens, waited for Miss Julie to read stories and lead them through songs, dances, and crafts, honoring the dads in their lives.
“Find your pretend reading glasses and open your pretend books. Help dad and grandpa find their glasses,” directed Miss Julie, as the little ones, who knew the drill from the weekly Friday morning Book Store story hours, helped their escorts get ready to listen.
Miss Julie is Julie Dossantos, an experienced early childhood educator, who masterfully mesmerized the audience for over an hour, reading them four books, with music and movement intermissions so audience members could get their wiggles out.
After the kids danced to “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” there were lots of tired lion cubs.
“That tuckered us out,” said Miss Julie, as she opened “My Dad, My Hero” by Ethan Long.
Long was supposed to appear at the event, but was unable to because he was nominated for an Emmy award for his Disney Channel show “Tasty Time with Zefronk.”
By this time, the natives were getting a little restless, so Miss Julie pulled out the heavy artillery. “How many of you hope you have a wild Father’s Day?” asked Miss Julie, as she began to read “A Wild Father’s Day,” a story filled with bouncing kangaroos, stretching cats, swinging monkeys, and wrestling bears.
The audience went wild, making all kinds of animal noises.
Addison and Chloe Van der Molen, 14-month-old identical twins, were attending their first Father’s Day outing with their dad, Brian. When asked his secret for having such calm, well behaved babies, he held up his index finger, slathered in chocolate, as the girls took turns licking it off.
Local businessman Sean Coakley was enjoying the excitement with his children, Samara, 4, who gave her dad a Father’s Day coupon book, and Torrin, 3 months.
“We’ve brought Samara here since she was a baby, and now she’s a reader. She loves books,” he said. “We get 10 books from the library all the time.”
Lucca Deganello, 4, visiting from Atlanta and wearing a glow-in-the-dark T-Rex t-shirt, was working intently on a card for his dad and a frame for his grandfather.
“I liked the book with the reindeer in it,” he replied, when asked what his favorite part of the morning was.
“We just love doing this, having the dads and the kids,” said Book Center staffer Susann Pezzetti. “Be sure you are here next Saturday for our annual bubble wrap explosion. That is really fun, too.”