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And Tango Makes Three Hardcover – June 1, 2005


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And Tango Makes Three + The Family Book + Mommy, Mama, and Me
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 720L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; 1st edition (June 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689878451
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689878459
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (212 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,409 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. PreSchool-Grade 3-This tale based on a true story about a charming penguin family living in New York City's Central Park Zoo will capture the hearts of penguin lovers everywhere. Roy and Silo, two male penguins, are "a little bit different." They cuddle and share a nest like the other penguin couples, and when all the others start hatching eggs, they want to be parents, too. Determined and hopeful, they bring an egg-shaped rock back to their nest and proceed to start caring for it. They have little luck, until a watchful zookeeper decides they deserve a chance at having their own family and gives them an egg in need of nurturing. The dedicated and enthusiastic fathers do a great job of hatching their funny and adorable daughter, and the three can still be seen at the zoo today. Done in soft watercolors, the illustrations set the tone for this uplifting story, and readers will find it hard to resist the penguins' comical expressions. The well-designed pages perfectly marry words and pictures, allowing readers to savor each illustration. An author's note provides more information about Roy, Silo, Tango, and other chinstrap penguins. This joyful story about the meaning of family is a must for any library.-Julie Roach, Watertown Free Public Library, MA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* PreS-Gr. 2. Roy and Silo were "a little bit different" from the other male penguins: instead of noticing females, they noticed each other. Thus penguin chick Tango, hatched from a fertilized egg given to the pining, bewildered pair, came to be "the only penguin in the Central Park Zoo with two daddies." As told by Richardson and Parnell (a psychiatrist and playwright), this true story remains firmly within the bounds of the zoo's polar environment, as do Cole's expressive but still realistic watercolors (a far cry from his effete caricatures in Harvey Fierstein's The Sissy Duckling, 2002). Emphasizing the penguins' naturally ridiculous physiques while gently acknowledging their situation, Cole's pictures complement the perfectly cadenced text--showing, for example, the bewildered pair craning their necks toward a nest that was "nice, but a little empty." Indeed, intrusions from the zookeeper, who remarks that the nuzzling males "must be in love," strike the narrative's only false note. Further facts about the episode conclude, but it's naive to expect this will be read only as a zoo anecdote. However, those who share this with children will find themselves returning to it again and again--not for the entree it might offer to matters of human sexuality, but for the two irresistible birds at its center and for the celebration of patient, loving fathers who "knew just what to do." Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

The story is well written, it's true, and the illustrations are great.
Working Mamamamama
This is a true story of two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo that decided that they were a couple.
Marcia, children's book nut
I loved this book because it is helping to show children that there are other forms of families.
D. D. Stallings

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

219 of 232 people found the following review helpful By Daryl B on February 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I recently saw a discussion on a television talk show about this charming little book. Two of the women were mothers and were discussing how they wouldn't read this book to their children. I had heard of the book before so I decided to buy the book and see for myself what might be "offensive" enough in a children's book to keep it away from little eyes.

What I found, is an enduring story (and a true one) based on two male penquins who form a bond so strong and loving that their keeper guesses "they must be in love." The story shows the two boy penquins doing all the same things the mated penquins do with the exception of hatching their own little baby. After the keeper finds an extra egg that is laid by another penquin couple (penquins can only take care of one egg), he decides to give Roy and Silo (the male couple) a chance to rear a little one. With much dedication, the two loving penquins take turns sitting on their nest and after a while, they hatch a cute little daughter, who is named Tango by the keeper.

To me, this book is a story of love. It shows how families are made up of different components and yet, with differences, there can still be undying love. I think many people might look at this book as only a children's book addressing homosexuality. These people are missing the point. This book is a story of love....the love two adults (regardless of gender) can have for each other and the love they can show a child that they raise. It could also been seen, in my opinion, as a book about adoption, where a couple can't have children and how they still shower their baby with love though it is not their own biological creation.

I think the story is told with tenderness and is thoughtful of the mind of a child.
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41 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Brianna Soloski on March 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover
And Tango Makes Three - Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

On the top ten list of most frequently challenged books (2009) from ALA: homosexuality

We live in a world with all types of families: two parents, one parent, grandparents, two moms, two dads, aunts, uncles, etc. It is the status quo today for life to be that way. It is not as taboo for two women to raise a child together (or two men, for that matter). There are all sorts of books available on the subject, for kids and adults. And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell is just one example.

I did a Wikipedia search for the book and found an interesting quote from Mr. Richardson: We wrote the book to help parents teach children about same-sex parent families. It's no more an argument in favor of human gay relationships than it is a call for children to swallow their fish whole or sleep on rocks. I don't feel the book should have been banned, but rather it should be used as a teaching tool for parents. I certainly would have no problem reading it to my children. I can't speak for my friends, but in my experience, they are open-minded and would give it a chance before making a decision.

The story is simple and talks about different types of families in the beginning. From there it goes into Roy and Silo (the penguins) meeting and falling in penguin love. As time goes on, they watch their penguin friends pairing off and laying eggs. They are unable to lay eggs, so they find a rock and take turns sitting on it in hopes that it will hatch. Eventually, their caretaker, Mr. Gramzay finds them an egg to care for. It hatches and Tango is born (named because it takes two to Tango). Tango, Roy, and Silo go on to live happily ever after.

Honestly, I really enjoyed this book.
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195 of 235 people found the following review helpful By G. Rovario-Cole on May 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a wonderful book. This story of two male penguins who were given the chance to nurture an egg and the penguin chick they hatched had me smiling from page one. My five year old was enchanted and I know that it will be a frequent re-read. I love the message of diversity, the story that's told in a loving way but mostly I love the illustrations. The fuzzy penguin chick pictures alone are worth the price of the book.
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145 of 176 people found the following review helpful By Steve on March 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover
It is appalling to me to know that there are sewar-filled, reprobate, sullied, paranoid minds, in which this book can be interpreted as having a cloaked "homosexual agenda."

Not since Jerry Falwell spotted "gay" Telly Tubbies on the loose has there been a more stupid accusation of a supposed threat to child development.

Only a sick jaundice eye would see such a "homosexual" agenda in this book. So fearful are these vacuous little minds that they fear that thier son or daughter after reading this book will irrevocably forego traditional heterosexual marriage, turn gay and have a homosexual union and adopt a child other than their own to raise. So threatening is this utterly absurd possibility that in some schools, the book has actually been removed from the non-fiction and childrens section.

So what is all the fuss about? What is this story? It is actually based on a true incident involving two male penguins that together took charge over an egg that they cared for until it hatched and reared the baby penguin, called Tango.

From a biological point of view, this incident is fascinating but not all together unqiue. While we humans would have difficulty perhaps fully appreciating this, it is testament to how the importance of the survival of the species can have such strong instincual drives for non-related members to ensure the survival of members of their species. But then again, this is not that unheard of even in human settings. In many places, the "it takes a village to raise a child" is actually taken literally, where non-biological fathers will watch over and protect the offspring of other men as if their own.
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