December 7, 2011
And Tango Makes Three
And Tango Makes Three
By: Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Illustrations by: Henry Cole
Simon and Schuster Books for Young Reader, NY (2005).
SUMMARY: And Tango Makes Three is the true story of two penguins named Silo and Roy who live at the Zoo near Central Park in New York. The story begins by explaining that every year girl and boy penguins find the most perfect mate and do family like things together, such as building a home. The story drifts for a big when the author decides to introduce Silo and Roy who are two inseparable boy penguins. Much like the other penguins in the zoo, they did everything together including bowing, walking, singing, swimming, showings signs of love be winding their necks together, and even building a nest for a baby penguin they could never have by themselves. When Silo and Roy noticed this the morning they woke up to find all the other boy and girl penguins with a baby penguin, they tried everything. Roy found a rock for Silo to sit on; however, as to be expected, nothing happened- until Mr. Gramzay, one of the zoo keepers taking care of the penguin house, intervened. He found an abandoned egg and replaced the rock Silo and Roy had been taking turns keeping warm. After much care, the two penguins heard a sound, and out of the egg came a baby penguin named Tango. Together, the two penguins took care of Tango. Furthermore, out of the entire zoo, Tango was the first penguin, and animal, to have two dads. Even though they acted just like all of the other penguin families, Silo, Roy, and Tango was the zoo’s main attraction.
MY REVIEW: And Tango Makes Three is arguably one of the best books that highlight LGBTQ, and I must agree. It is a truly heartwarming book about two penguins who just want to be together and I stick by this statement regardless of what others say. And Tango Makes Three is based on the idea of two homosexual penguins who acquire and adopt a baby penguin named Tango. Many individuals became irate with this story line (even though it is factual), causing the book to be extremely close to the top on the banned book list. In response to this outburst, co-author Justin Richardson released a statement to the New York Times in which he said “We wrote the book to help parents teach children about same-sex parent families. It’s no more an argument in favor of human gay relationships than it is a call for children to swallow their fish whole or sleep on rocks” Regardless of the controversy, I believe the authors did a stellar job, and the book in no way focused too much on the mating process of penguins, which was a good judgment call when writing a children’s book. With that in mind, I really do not see why this book is so controversial. It is a story about two penguins desperately trying to fit in by creating a family of their own. They are penguins that are being referenced, not even humans (not that it should make a difference). Personally, I do not find anything wrong with two living creatures, whether penguins or humans, caring for each other so much they want to do everything together. I think if we can find someone we feel that way for, then that is a truly special thing, whether it is a significant other, a best friend, or even a baby. I have heard of this common misconception that LGBTQ couples may not have the proper knowledge to take care of child. I have to disagree with this entirely, and I feel like anyone who has heard of Silo and Roy’s story would agree. The two penguins took care of Tango just like all of the other penguins. There appeared to be no issues. Thus, if presented with the opportunity and if they truly wanted it (like Silo and Roy did), LGBTQ individuals would be just like every other parent- because in the end every parent wants what is best for his or her child. And Tango Makes Three highlights this point perfectly by showing the way Silo and Roy teach Tango how to sing and swim. This book truly shows a parent’s love for his or her child, regardless of where that child came from due to family history. While some may argue this is not classroom friendly book, I have every intention of bringing it into my classroom and using it for a read aloud. This book is one of my favorites; I do not think words can do justice in regards to how touching and eye opening it truly is.