Oh how nice is Panama

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Oh, how beautiful is Panama (the story of how the little tiger and the little bear travel to Panama) is an illustrated children's story by Janosch , which was awarded the German Youth Book Prize. The book was published on March 15, 1978.


The two friends Little Tiger and Little Bear live happily in a house near a river. Little Bear is a passionate fisherman, and Little Tiger is an accomplished mushroom picker who owns a little yellow and black striped wooden duck with wheels. That is why he calls it " Tiger Duck ". One day the little bear fishes an empty wooden box with the inscription " Panama " out of the river. He sniffs the box and it smells like bananas and he decides Panama is the land of his dreams. The little bear imaginatively tells his friend Little Tiger that Panama is a place where everything should be better, bigger and more beautiful than at home and that they should now travel to this country. The next day, the two of them set off for Panama with a saucepan, a fishing rod, a hat and the tiger duck. First they make a sign from the box and walk in the direction shown. During their journey they meet all sorts of animals. Most do not know where Panama is and some give them wrong directions. The two friends walk around in circles through this information and finally arrive back at their old home. Since in the meantime their house looks damaged by the weather, the bridge is no longer completely intact and the trees and bushes have grown considerably, they are not aware that they have returned to their original home. On the floor in front of their house they find the sign that says “Panama” and therefore believe that they have actually reached their destination. They repair the house and are happy to finally be in the land of their dreams.


The story gives the recipient a new perspective on their own home. It is only from a distance that you understand that your own home is more beautiful than it appears up close. Janosch comments on this in the Frankfurter Rundschau : "Everyone has always lived in paradise, they just didn't know it." One of the basic statements of this story is:

"When you have a friend ... you don't have to fear anything."

- Janosch : Oh, how beautiful is Panama


Film adaptations

Oh, how beautiful is Panama was first made into a cartoon in 1985 as part of the first episode of Janosch's dream hour .

Another cartoon of the same name was made in 2006. In the film, the little tiger and the little bear are stranded on a desert island (in the initial belief that they have reached Panama) and only return home later. Janosch himself said critically that the film no longer has much in common with the original message of its story. Voice actors include Til Schweiger (Little Tiger), Dietmar Bär (Little Bear), Ralf Schmitz (Kobold Schnuddel), Mirco Nontschew (“Travel Ass” Mallorca) and Anke Engelke (Fish).


Oh, how beautiful is Panama is the basis of the children's opera of the same name, which the composer Stefan Johannes Hanke wrote in 2014 on behalf of the Hanover State Opera . The libretto is by Dorothea Hartmann.



  • Våra drömmars land - En saga om hur den lilla björnen och den lilla tigern reser till Panama . Stockholm 1978, ISBN 91-502-0396-7 . (Swedish)
  • Oi ihana Panama: Kertomus siitä kuinka pikku karhu ja pikku tiikeri löytävät Panaman. Translator: Riitta Mäyrälä. WSOY, 1980. (Finnish)
  • The trip to Panama . Beltz & Gelberg Verlag, Weinheim 1990, ISBN 3-407-78074-5 . Translator: Anthea Bell (English)
  • Oh, com'è bella Panama . Piemme, Italia 1997, ISBN 978-8838474040 . (Italian)
  • Ah ne güzel Panama . Beltz & Gelberg Verlag, Weinheim 1998, ISBN 3-407-78323-X . (Turkish)
  • O pulcherrimam Panamam: Narratur fabula de parvulo tigre ursuloque Panamam proficiscentibus. Translated by Hermann Wiegand . Inkfaß edition, Neckarsteinach 2016. (Latin)
  • ܐܟ ، ܡܢ ܒܣܝܡܬܐ ܝܐ ܦܢܡܐ (ox, min basimto-yo panama). Translated by Zeki Bilgic - NISIBIN Aramïsche studies . Inkfaß edition, Inkfaß edition, Neckarsteinach 2016, ISBN 978-3-946190-25-7 . (Aramaic)
  • Ах, ця чудова Панама! Urbino, L'viv 2018. Translator: O. Sydor (Ukrainian)

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Jochanan Shelliem: Janosch for his 75th birthday, a portrait in self-statements. on: Deutschlandfunk. March 11, 2006.
  2. http://www.zeichentrickserien.de/janoschs-traumstunde.htm