The morning of the 15th (NZ time) Vivian and I headed for Pt Chevalier School for Vivian to read to one hundred 6year olds. After a beautiful assembly where children sang the National Anthem in both Maori and English, and also in sign language, awards were given out for achievements and acts of kindness and creativity. Children here are encouraged to be inclusive in all things. Vivian was introduced and welcomed by the Headmaster. Then in the library the children sang “Happy Birthday Four Otters” with Vivian and the reading got underway. I was impressed to see Vivian in action unruffled by such a large group. Often Vivian stopped to answer questions from the children and it was so lovely to see how enthusiastic and attentive they were. The reading was followed by more questions and a spelling craft on the whiteboard. Afterwards Vivian and I were invited for a lovely morning tea in the staff room put on by the teachers. It was a very rewarding session and I literally had to drag Vivian away. She would have stayed all day given the chance.


Written by: Vivian Kirkfield

Illustrated by: Mirka Hokkanen

Published by: Pomegranate , March 2019

Ages:   4 – 8 years

Theme: counting, nature, animals

Opening Lines: Water waits. Dawn breaks in a chorus of bird song. ONE willow flycatcher whistles as the night slips silently away.

Synopsis. The animals find shelter, safety and fun in the river and as dawn turns to dusk they sing, leap, toboggan, flit, flutter and hunt, riding out a storm, bask in the sun’s rays and tuck under the silver moon. A counting book filled with modern wood engraving illustrations, celebrates the wild beauty and the natural environment around us.

Why I like this:    As the opening lines demonstrate the beautiful lyrical language captures the mood. When I first read the early drafts of this story I fell in love with the way the words whisked you away in a dream-like state to a place of stillness yet busy, silent yet noisy, and the world as we know it miles away. Almost poetry-like Vivian paints vivid imagery from dawn to dusk of the animals at play. Mirka’s wood engraving is perfect for this book and gives the illustrations texture. I also love the glossary about the animals and questions that ask the children to study the illustrations.

It’s also lovely to see a teacher’s aid and activity book available.


Free download of the colouring/activity book….. https://viviankirkfield.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/otter-coloring-book.pdf

Author’s website:   https://viviankirkfield.com/my-book/


I’m always happy reviewing Picture Books that come my way and share them with you.  If you would like to see more please pop over to Susanna Leonard Hills Blog where there are hundreds of books reviewed by other like minded authors and writers.  Thank you for popping in and I hope you return again soon.


About Diane Tulloch

Known also as the Patientdreamer I am a writer who loves to dream, and is passionate about writing stories for the young so that they may join me in the wonders of adventure in countries and cultures afar, and in special moments to remember.
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15 Responses to “Perfect Picture Book” – Friday/VIVIAN DOWNUNDER/BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION

  1. A million thanks, Diane…for arranging the event, for taking the photos, for all of your work putting the video together…and for all-around awesomeness! Wonderful post!!!

  2. Pingback: Perfect Picture Book Friday: BABOONS ON BALLONS | VIVIAN KIRKFIELD – Writer for Children

  3. Oh my gosh! I love the story you opened with of Vivian’s classroom visit, and of the children singing Happy Birthday Four Otters! Sooo heartwarming. I can’t wait to add Vivian’s book to my collection of favorites. This lyrical counting book looks like pure magic!

  4. Darlene says:

    Looks like a fun event. Like Vivian, I enjoy visiting schools as well. I also could stay all day and often do. LOVE the cake! Glad you are both OK after hearing the terrible news this morning. Sending love and hugs. xo

    • Hi Darlene, We did have a great day. Yes it was sad to hear of what happened and even greater shock having just flown back into Auckland from Christchurch the day before. Christchurch is a lovely city recovering from the turmoils of the earthquakes and it certainly did not need this. We were unaware of what had happened until that evening when we sat to watch the news. I immediately told Vivian to get on the internet and let her family and friends know she was okay.

  5. So, so beautiful! And so exciting to share this book with all those excited children!

  6. Thank you for Dianne in allowing us to join Vivian’s masterful reading. It was almost as good as being there. Great review too. Between the two of us, I think we covered all the fun, extra activities these talented ladies created for their book. 🙂

  7. It was fun joining Vivian on her school visit. FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN sounds like a very lyrical read. I like the idea of illustrations that are made with wood engraving! How beautiful! Look forward to reading the book.
    Tell Vivian, I received a “thank you e-mail” from my library for recommending they purchase THANK YOU SARAH. They ordered it for two major libraries.

  8. tinamcho says:

    Nice to hear a bit of her presentation. Did you make this cake, Diane?

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