30 September, 2011

And Tango Makes Three - Banned Book Review

And Tango Makes Three
by Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell & Henry Cole (illustrator)
Publication date: 26 April 2005 by Simon & Schuster
ISBN 10/13: 0689878451 | 9780689878459

Category: Children's Fiction
Format: Hardcover, paperback
Keywords: Diversity, animals, love, family, adoption

From Goodreads:

In the zoo there are all kinds of animal families. But Tango's family is not like any of the others. This illustrated children's book fictionalizes the true story of two male penguins who became partners and raised a penguin chick in the Central Park Zoo.

Thuy’s review:

I had never heard of this book until I started looking up books to read for Banned Book Week. When I saw that a children’s picture book was one of the most challenged books on the list, I was intrigued.

And Tango Makes Three is the true and incredibly sweet story of two male penguins, Roy and Silo, who live in New York’s Central Park Zoo. Roy and Silo are always together, neither of them having taken a female mate. Roy and Silo try to imitate the other penguins by sitting on a rock, hoping that it will hatch into a baby penguin. One day, a zoo worker gives them an egg that needs to be taken care of. Roy and Silo love it and nurture it and then Tango is born.

This is a lovely little read for people of all ages. I found this true story to be incredibly touching and the penguins are adorable. The illustrations are well done and compliment the story. It’s a quick read that kids will find cute and entertaining.

This book has been banned for having themes of homosexuality. Well yes, the story is about two male penguins raising a child but it’s also about love and family. It shows that a family can be many things, be it two fathers, a single mother, a grandparent, or adoptive parents. For children who do not have a “traditional” family structure, Tango allows them to be represented in literature and shows that there is a more than one way to define family.

Will reading the book prompt children to ask their parents about homosexuality? Maybe--maybe not. The book is subtle and I think young children will see it as a cute animal story more than anything else. But what if they do ask questions? That isn’t a bad thing. Speaking openly with our children and exposing them to diversity early on will help them grow into more open minded, well rounded, and accepting individuals.

I really enjoyed this book and its message that love comes in all shapes in sizes. I would not hesitate to recommend it to my friends and their children.

Find out more about Justin Richardson & Peter Parnell at simonandschuster.com

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