Tuesday, December 7, 2010

SLIS 5420 - Module 15 - And Tango Makes Three

Module 15 - And Tango Makes Three

Parnell, Peter and Justin Richardson. And Tango Makes Three. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, 2005. ISBN: 0-6898-78451

Roy and Silo are two male chinstrap penguins that paired up together at the Central Park Zoo. For years, they displayed courting behavior, made a nest together and tried to hatch rocks. One day a zoo keeper gave the pair an abandoned egg that they hatched successfully. Tango was the baby they raised together. This is based on a true story.

What I Thought
I thought this book was adorable! My partner and I raise two awesome children and it's really a breath of fresh air to have books out there about families like ours. The illustrations by Henry Cole are cute and animated. My children enjoyed reading the book with me.

This book is, however, one of the most challenged books on the ALA list because it depicts a homosexual relationship (between penguins). I understand that this is a sensitive issue to some people who feel that homosexuality shouldn't be exposed to their children. However, love, partnership, parenting and relationships are beautiful things no matter who you love. This book is beautifully accepting of Roy and Silo and shows how people (like the zoo keeper in the story) can look past the "gay" and see the love.

Outside Reviews
 "Tango has two daddies in this heartwarming tale, inspired by actual events in New York's Central Park Zoo. Two male penguins, Roy and Silo, "did everything together. They bowed to each other.… They sang to each other. And swam together. Wherever Roy went, Silo went too. … Their keeper… thought to himself, 'They must be in love.'" Cole's (The Sissy Duckling) endearing watercolors follow the twosome as they frolic affectionately in several vignettes and then try tirelessly to start a family--first they build a stone nest and then they comically attempt to hatch a rock. Their expressive eyes capture a range of moods within uncluttered, pastel-hued scenes dominated by pale blue. When the keeper discovers an egg that needs tending, he gives it to Roy and Silo, who hatch and raise the female. The keeper says, "We'll call her Tango,… because it takes two to make a Tango." Older readers will most appreciate the humor inherent in her name plus the larger theme of tolerance at work in this touching tale. Richardson and Parnell, making their children's book debut, ease into the theme from the start, mentioning that "families of all kinds" visit the zoo. This tender story can also serve as a gentle jumping-off point for discussions about same-sex partnerships in human society."

(2005). And Tango Makes Three. Publishers Weekly, 252(20), 61. Retrieved from MasterFILE Premier database.

"In this true, straightforwardly (so to speak) delivered tale, two male chinstrap penguins at New York City's Central Park Zoo bond, build a nest and--thanks to a helping hand from an observant zookeeper--hatch and raise a penguin chick. Seeing that the penguins dubbed Roy and Silo "did everything together. They bowed to each other. And walked together. They sang to each other. And swam together," their keeper, Mr. Gramzay, thinks, "They must be in love." And so, when Roy and Silo copy the other penguin couples and build a nest of stones, it's Gramzay who brings a neighboring couple's second egg for them to tend, then names the resulting hatchling "Tango." Cole gives the proud parents and their surrogate offspring small smiles, but otherwise depicts figures and setting with tidy, appealing accuracy. Unlike Harvey Fierstein's groundbreaking The Sissy Duckling (2002), also illustrated by Cole, this doesn't carry its agenda on its shoulder; readers may find its theme of acceptance even more convincing for being delivered in such a matter of fact, non-preachy way."

(2005). AND TANGO MAKES THREE. Kirkus Reviews, 73(11), 642. Retrieved from MasterFILE Premier database.

Using This book in the library
This book has been part of many displays in my library. People are surprised, sometimes, that it's been banned. It's a great topic for starting a good discussion about censorship and what may or may not be appropriate. The biggest challenge to the book is that it depicts a same-sex relationship and some parents aren't ready to tell their children about this part of life. It's important (especially in a public library) to remind parents to always review the choices their children pick. There are picture books about war, death, disease and a variety of issues you may not be ready to share with your children. Age appropriate books do not mean they don't deal with "heavy" issues. They just deal with heavy issues in an age-appropriate way.

For fun and information:
Find out more about the two penguins, Roy and Silo and the scientific thought behind their behavior from Scientific American.

No comments:

Post a Comment