Monday, December 7, 2009


Richardson, Justin and Peter Parnell. And Tango Makes Three. Henry Cole, illus. Simon & Schuster, 2005. 29 p. TR 16.99 ISBN 978-0689878459

SUMMARY: This is the true story of two male chinstrap penguins in the Central Park Zoo and how they found companionship with each other. A perceptive zookeeper gave this self-proclaimed couple the opportunity to make a family by giving them an egg to hatch. At the end of the book, they are a happy family of three.

RISKS: Depiction of homosexual relationship/parenting - albeit in animal form

EVALUATION: This beautifully illustrated, fun and tender picture book is as innocent or harmful as you make it. These are penguins, in a zoo, who want a family. Looking at the story in a bigger way, it is a universal narrative about love and families and the desire to have someone close. Once again, the representation of homosexuality in whatever guise will no doubt offend some readers. More liberal adults, however (one might add, children, too) will find this story of love and togetherness both touching and refreshing.

READER'S ANNOTATION: Not your ordinary zoo story, or penguin story, or even animal story. Baby Tango stars in this delightful and inspiring true story of a unique family.

TOPICS: penguins; companionship; homosexual parents; familial relationships; zoo animals; Central Park Zoo, New York, NY;

AWARDS: ALA Notable Children's Books, 2006; ASPCA Henry Bergh Children's Book Award, 2005

Ages 4-8

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