Is This Panama? A Migration Story
by Jan Thornhill, illustrated by Soyeon Kim
Owl Kids, 2013
A lovely story to introduce the concept of migrating birds, insects and mammals.
Sammy, a young Wilson Warbler, discovers his friends have already left the Arctic Circle for Panama, and starts out on his own for his ‘first’ migration. Without the guidance of other warblers, he joins other birds, insects, and mammals to make his way to his winter home. I love this story. Sammy is young and doing a lot of ‘firsts’ in his young life. His innocence and love for everything shines on every page. The art is exquisite. Soyeon Kim uses fine sketching and painting techniques to produce three-dimensional pieces showing the journey. After reading the words, I returned several times to savor the illustrations.
After asking a ptarmigan and caribou for help, Sammy eventually joins a flock of Sandhill Cranes and ‘hops on the back’ of one on a flight toward Texas. He eventually separates, but after meeting a garter snake, he determines he is not safe and flies eastward with green darner dragonflies who follow a shoreline. Then he joins a flock of Restart Warblers who travel at night following the stars. By this time he is way off course, but has no way of knowing. With the assistance of Monarch Butterflies, whales, and others, he finally makes it to his winter home.
Adults will love reading the story to piece together where young Sammy might be on his journey. Children will explore the wide world of migrating creatures.