Perfect Picture Book Friday: BABOONS ON BALLONS

Most of you know that I am on an around-the-world book tour – launching three debut picture books, speaking at SCBWI conferences, and meeting kidlit friends  But what is the most fun of all is when I read my stories to children.

Earlier today, I had the pleasure of visiting Point Chevalier School in Auckland, NZ. Diane and I were invited to attend their Friday morning assembly – what a joyful occasion that was! The principal, Stephen Lethbridge, strummed the guitar as the children sang the national anthem, first in Maori, then in English, as well as in sign language. Then the school chorus performed. And various children were recognized with certificates for good behavior, civic awareness, and excellent academics. I spoke with the principal after and told him how impresed I was with how the children were encouraged and supported by their teachers and each other!

The children enjoyed hearing FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK…which, by the way, launches TODAY!!! I hope you’ll check out Maria Marshall’s PPBF review of it. And on Diane Tulloch’s blog, you’ll find a video of the school visit and a continuation of Where in the World are Vivian, Pippa, Sarah, and those Tobogganing Otters.

I was totally impressed with the participation of the students…100 six-year olds…all anxious to ask questions and answer them. Can you believe that most knew what threatened meant…and many had excellent responses when I asked what might cause animals to become threatened. Our discussion of authors and writing books also elicited enthusiastic interaction – I probably could have stayed there all day, chatting with them!

Diane Tulloch, my stellar host, PR person, photographer, event planner, and dear critique buddy and I were invited to morning tea…and the principal presented me with a copy of a book written and illustrated by the school’s students. It’s a beautiful story and I just had to share it with you today.

baboons on balloons

Written by Elodie Gibbs

Illustrated by the students of Point Chevalier School

Published by Tsunami (2018)

Ages: 4-8

Themes: Resilience, animals

Opening lines: “A honeybee’s making fun of me…and it stings a bit.”


A child who is being made fun of decides to look around and see the wonder of the surrounding world, including some baboons on balloons, a squirrel feeding berries to a bear, and a lemur in a steamer looking for the beach.

Why I love this book:

  • Written and illustrated by kids! What a wonderful way to encourage creativity and build self-esteem!
  • Happy bouncy rhyme
  • Fabulous collage and other mediums used for the art



Looking for some animals crafts? Check out this website:

Help your child write and illustrate a story. Staple the pages together in a book.

Thank you, my friends, for stopping by and spending your precious time here. Speaking about time, the days are flying by and I can’t believe that I leave beautiful New Zealand in just a few days. I’ll be sad to say goodbye to Diane and her hubby…they’ve taken such good care of me. But I’m also looking forward to meeting my “Swiss connection” Julie Abery.

On a very sad note, the news here in NZ is filled with reports of shootings. Over 40 people where killed in Christchurch (where I was just the other day). This type of attack is almost unheard of in New Zealand…a country that embraces diversity and practices inclusivity. And the city of Christchurch suffered devastating losses of life and property during the earthquake of 2012. My heart goes out to all of those impacted.

Please stay safe and have a beautiful weekend.

21 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday: BABOONS ON BALLONS

  1. How satisfying it must be to interact with students around your book! The book these students have written sounds delightful. So happy for you to have this experience! Congratulations on the release of 4 Otters Tobaggan! I can’t wait to see it!


  2. Dear Vivian, I can’t begin to tell you how much I’m looking forward to owning a copy of your lyrical and visually-stunning picture book, Four Otters Toboggan. Your school visit with the 100 children must have so memorable and rewarding. Many hugs and congratulations on all of your successes.


  3. To be surrounded by the sparkling energy and excitement of SO MANY children must be thrilling! You are truly being blessed by your talent and kind heart. Can’t wait to own a copy of your FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN! The sadness of violent deaths digs deep. Such a contrast to the smiles of children’s hearts. May the rest of your journey keep you safe.


  4. Vivian, it sounds like you are having an experience of lifetime! How awesome! And that amazing first line from the children’s book is so, so perfect! I tried to find the book, but the link for buying appears to no longer be available. I’m sad.


  5. How wonderfully supportive the teachers and staff are at the school you’re visiting. I love that they wrote a book together. They must be proud! It sounds like an interesting story.
    So sad what happened in Christchurch. Our hearts go out to all of New Zealand.


  6. The news from Christchurch is horrible, and my heart aches for all those who will be mourning their loved ones now. I thought of you when I first heard of the shooting, and I’m so glad you weren’t in the vicinity. What a cute book you were given today! And I’m so glad you got to share yours with such a great school. Be safe and well, Vivian!


  7. In my classroom, we create several books together throughout the year. We have a special shelf where we keep the books. Anyone can contribute to our author spot. The kids love reading them and seeing there work there! Love Baboons on balloons!


  8. I love reading about your amazing tour & school visits, Vivian. This book looks like a wonderful way to encourage creativity, and now the students are internationally-recognized authors & illustrators! Stay safe – love & prayers to all affected by Friday’s horror.


  9. What a wonderful visit to a school! Love the book the students created. Many of my literacy classes/workshops centered on the style of teaching reading/writing/language done in Australia and New Zealand. It’s a great system! Happy travels! And prayers for the families and friends in that horrible incident!


  10. This book is just what kids need to do! Congratulations to the teacher and principal of this school and maybe they’ll give a PowerPoint Presentation on How They Made The Book! Sure sounds like you are having a fun filled trip. Stay safe.


  11. Lovely post my dear friend. I’ll share it to the librarian there at the school. You are probably somewhere on your way to Geneva by now. Take care, safe travels and stay in touch. Thinking of you.


  12. It was an honour to have you visit us Vivian, thank you for taking the time to show our children what the outcome of hard work and passion is. Thank you for sharing our Baboons on Balloons book with your readers, 700 children had a hand in constructing that book and we are proud of the results.

    kia tau te rangimarie
    let peace be with you

    Liked by 1 person

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