The day started with a nonsensical tale about a day in the life of Mr Silly.
My Silly lives in Nonsenseland where birds fly backwards, cars have square wheels, chickens say "meow" and pigs say "moo".
The Mr Silly book is part of the renowned Mr Men series and landed on the desk of this journo when a colleague chanced upon it the day before while having lunch outside Reyburn House.
Along with it, was a note stating: "Free to a good home! Congrats on finding me! Please read and re-hide! Tell us on 'Whangārei Hidden Books' page on Facebook where you found it or where you have hidden books. Happy reading!"
A check on the Facebook page showed that this initiative had begun almost two years ago. Behind it was book-lover Heather Edmeades.
"It began when a group of colleagues decided we wanted to do something for the community," she explained. "I'd been following a friend's page, who was doing something similar elsewhere and I thought, you know what, we can do this."
The group went second-hand book-shopping and gathered around 80 books which they popped into ziplock bags with notes. She set up a Facebook page and they went out one lunch time and hid the books across Whangārei.
"We all had allocated parks and we went for it."
They were rewarded with instant feedback.
"Our very first park was Onerahi and we were sitting in the car deciding where to go to next and looked up and saw these kids discovering the books. They were just so excited. It was wonderful, a total buzz."
One of the first kids to discover a book was eight-year-old Hughie Ponifasio at Kensington Playground. The bookworm read it straight away while sitting on a swing. It prompted mum Rosie to distribute their own books.
"It's actually become a lovely school holiday tradition for us – we give the bookshelves a good clear-out at least once a year."
During the recent July school holidays, the family had a boot-load of books, all bagged and labelled, ready to be dropped off at any playground or park they encountered over the break.
But they're not just hidden in parks. Finders are encouraged to post a follow-up photo of where they found their book, and the page, which has 600 followers, is dotted with illustrations of these treasures on walking tracks, including Hātea Loop, the Kamo Shared Path, among rocks, trees and even in cafes. Accompanying these are "super-excited" kids and sometimes grandparents reading to their captive audience.
Edmeades said one of the stand-out posts for her, since the initiative began in October 2019, was of a baby with their first book found at the Quarry Gardens.
"A lady put a photo up of her little baby with this book and it was the first book she'd got for her baby and it just touched my heart.
"I grew up with books, we were surrounded with them. It's a nice thing to share with your kids and some families just don't have books. I think there's something really special about owning a book."
Edmeades believed there would be thousands of books now out there as part of Whangārei Hidden Books – she is forever purchasing them from second-hand book stores, and others are contributing their own.
"It's not a set commitment, it has a life of its own."
Meanwhile, Mr Silly, in his strange world where farmers grow square apples and worms say "quack", has been re-hidden somewhere in the city. Keep your eyes peeled.