Written by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, illustrated by Henry Cole
Publishers : Simon and Schuster April 2005
Themes : penguins, zoos, love as the basis of family life , tolerance, adoption, diversity, homosexuality
Opening and Synopsis : « In the middle of New York City there is a great big park called Central Park, Children love to play there…. best of all it has its very own zoo. » This is based on a true story of two penguins living in the Central Park Zoo, who fall in love and form a family. This has been one of the most banned books of the past six years in the US because the penguins are both boys.
The authors start the story by describing Central Park and the zoo that is located there. They describe many animals including one pair of penguins that was different. Silo and Roy were both boys, but they did everything together. They even built a nest together.
Their keeper watches the Silo and Roy as adorably they mimic the other penguin couples and try to hatch a rock. He decides to give Roy and Silo an orphan egg that needs to be cared for instead. The penguins spend much time sitting on the egg and keeping it warm until the day it cracks open, and little Tango comes out. The zookeeper calls her Tango because “It takes two to make a Tango.”
Why do I like this book? This story is very sweet and full of love and care between partners and parents and their child. Children adore penguins and love the fact that this is a true story. Many children won’t even notice that Tango had two daddies because they are caught up in the loving family, but for children who ask good questions, this book is a wonderful launching pad to talk of all sorts of different families and accepting these differences.
I would highly recommend And Tango Makes Three to families with two dads, two moms or those with adopted children, as I think children in those types of families would be able to relate well to the character of Tango. I also highly recommend it to anyone who wants to show their children that families come in all different forms ~ as well as to penguin lovers, of course!
Activities: Zoo visits! Follow up discussions are very important if the listeners have questions. Here is a Tango Makes Three Educator’s Guide.