Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Library Goes Zany for Reading; Kids Enjoy Blast-Off of Summer Program

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Library Goes Zany for Reading; Kids Enjoy Blast-Off of Summer Program

Article excerpt

Byline: Maggie FitzRoy

PONTE VEDRA BEACH -- They blasted off into outer space. They visited the planet Pluto. Then they couldn't figure out how to get back to Earth.

Their special guide, "Mr. Zenith," helped them solve the imaginary problem with the help of an imaginary library book.

They floated down in a balloon, of course.

"If you ever have a question and you can't find the answer, you should come to the library and find a book that can answer your question," said Mr. Zenith, who is actor Glenn Sinclair in real life.

Sinclair and Jeff Voegele of the Mashed Potato Players, a one-act comedy team that performs in schools and libraries around the state, came to the Ponte Vedra Beach branch library Wednesday for the first Florida Library Youth Program of the summer. The library will sponsor free children's performances at 10 a.m. every Wednesday for the next eight weeks to encourage reading over the schools' summer break.

Assistant children's librarian Michelle Kiley said different performers will come every week and that the program also includes a family film fest at 2 p.m. every Monday afternoon.

In addition, children who keep reading logs can win prizes and on July 19, participate in a celebration ice cream party.

On Wednesday, as the Mashed Potato players set up, kids and their parents formed a line that stretched from the back of the library to the front.

When the show began, Voegele introduced himself as Captain Quasar, who was going to take them for a ride on Spaceship Potato.

As the zany actors pretended to be asleep at the spaceship wheel, then woke up to lead everyone in a competition called the Potato-lympics, kids of all ages laughed and participated in the antics.

They spelled words backward while patting their heads and rubbing their stomachs.

They pretended to write their names in the air.

They pretended to read books.

"Did you enjoy the books you read?" asked Voegele. "That means you pick good books. Very nice."

It also meant they won the Olympic competition, yeah!

"Bee deep bee deep bee deep," said Mr. Zenith, who said that a lot throughout the hour-long performance.

At the end of the show, Mr. …

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