Sunday, January 22, 2006

And Tango Makes Three

Richardson, Justin and Parnell, Peter. 2005. AND TANGO MAKES THREE. Ill. by Henry Cole. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0689878451 [Suggested Grade Levels K-12]

AND TANGO MAKES THREE is a picture book story done with wonderfully realistic watercolor illustrations about the penguin families in New York City’s Central Park Zoo. “Every day families of all kinds go to visit the animals that live there.” The book explains how penguins care for their eggs and hatch their young. In this friendly view of zoo life, Roy and Silo are two male penguins that were given an egg to hatch by their zookeeper, Mr. Gramzay. Mr. Gramzay named the penguin chick Tango “because it takes two to make a Tango.” Tango became the first penguin in the Central Park Zoo to have two daddies.

The author’s note at the end of this book reveals that two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo really did hatch an egg and they lovingly cared for the chick named Tango. This book addresses the often-controversial subject of same sex families with a matter-of-fact dignity. Can penguins in New York City’s Central Park zoo teach human families about tolerance and acceptance?

Younger readers can learn about penguins: their natural habitat; their fishing and eating habits; how they hatch their eggs; and how they care for their young. Make a penguin figurine out of clay or papier mache.

Older readers can read the book to discuss society’s attitudes about same sex families. They can create a research paper that addresses opposing viewpoints.

Other stories about blended families or distinctive penguins:
Lester, Helen. TACKY THE PENGUIN. ISBN 0395562333
Ryan, Pam Munoz. NACHO AND LOLITA. ISBN 0439269687
Weeks, Sarah. WITHOUT YOU. ISBN 0060278161

By Judy Brown McKenna

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