A Warbler’s Journey

Scott Weidensaul (author) and Nancy Lane (illustrator) / The Gryphon Press / 32 pages

A Warbler’s Journey, written by Pennsylvania naturalist Scott Weidensaul and illustrated by Nancy Lane, is a beautiful and informative book. Through the travels of the yellow warbler, readers learn about the migratory path and the ecological role of this little bird. From the tropical rainforest, over the Gulf of Mexico, and up to Northwest Canada, the yellow warbler is depicted in colorful paintings that capture the natural beauty of each region. Younger readers especially will enjoy spotting the petite yellow bird, and other animals, in many of these lovely illustrations. 

The written descriptions of the warbler’s trek are just as vivid as the artwork. Sights, sounds, and even flavors—offered from the vantage point of the warbler as well as the human characters—add richness and depth to the tale. The bird’s story is eventful without being overly fraught, making it an inspiring and engaging book for both independent reading and story time. 

Woven into the warbler’s adventure are the stories of three children who are lucky enough to catch sight of the warbler as she makes her way north. Each of these encounters highlights the connection between humans and nature. This is an important message, and encourages readers of all ages to consider the ways in which they interact with wildlife.

The yellow warbler is not an endangered or threatened species at this time, and they retain a wide-ranging habitat. Perhaps showcasing a more imperiled species in order to raise awareness would have been desirable. This is only a tiny quibble, however, as the book does address the ways in which humans can help protect all migratory birds. The concept of establishing legal protections for wildlife habitat is introduced within the story, and there are two pages at the end devoted to practical actions that people can take in their daily lives. 

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