December 6, 2011

Critical Review: And Tango Makes Three

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:03 pm by pargoffa

Children’s Books
By: Sarah Weeks
Published:  June 19, 2005
Retrieved From:

Finding a scholarly review for And Tango Makes Three was the hardest part of this entire project, which I did not think was possible, as finding five children’s books that portrayed LGTBQ individuals proved to be quite challenging. However, all of the articles surrounding the book merely pointed out the fact that the book was on the top of the banned book list for images of homosexuality and religious preferences. After what felt like hours of searching, an article published by Sarah Weeks of the New York Times came to my rescue. This review intrigued me from the get go. Not only because the author enjoyed the book as much as I did, but she is not afraid to tell readers of the review that the story is about more than just two gay penguins. Her review automatically starts by listing off the various family types, those who adopt, those whose parents are divorced, and even mothers who have surrogates. The bottom line is this “Every child’s world centers on the family unit. Although the specific elements that make up a family come in an endless variety of sizes, shapes and colors, the common thread is unconditional love and acceptance” (Weeks, 2005). The only critique I have of this review is that she did not highlight the fact the book is about penguins. Yes she mentions it, and she also covers that the book is based on factual accounts; however, she neglects to fight the reason this book is banned. While reading, I took note that the penguins were homosexual; however, they did not make accentuate it even though it is a key part in the story. For my reading, I also failed to pick up on any cues of religious preferences. So I was left with the question, why is this book really banned? After reading Week’s review the only thing I can think of is that it is in fact because the story involves two male penguins. I was a huge fan of the book, and Weeks appeared to agree. She stated that the book was “well-written, perfectly paced… and provides gentle-water colors which aptly convey the penguin action…” She goes on to say “Happily, and surprisingly, ”Tango Makes Three” rises above the message it carries and becomes that rarest of birds, a ”message book” that’s also a really good story” (Weeks, 2005). After reading her review, and having a chance to read the book for myself, it is a piece of children’s literature I would love to one day have in my classroom.


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