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on February 24, 2008
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. I don't think a small child would come away with anything more than two penquins who love their baby very much. The illustrations are nicely done, simple but fun. To anyone who wants to share of story of love and tolerance at an early age, this is a good book. Highly recommended.
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on May 23, 2005
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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on March 10, 2011
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. It's been on the challenged list for several years and banned nearly everywhere in 2009. It makes me sad that we aren't able to be more open-minded about homosexuality and the different kinds of families that exist in today's world.
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This is a true story of two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo that decided that they were a couple. They built a nest of rocks like all the other couples and sat on the rocks hoping for a chick like all the other penguins. With a little help, they ended up with their own special family. What a wonderful way to introduce children to the concept of different types of families! The love they have for one another is so touching and natural. It proves that these bonds form quite naturally and that the love shared is just as valid as in the traditional family.
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on March 4, 2006
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. The children are viewed as being members of the community and in this repect the child in question has not only a biological mother and father, but an army of non-related mothers and fathers not far behind. This unifies the community and makes it incredibly rich in social networks and very dependable and strong--socially and especially during times of crisis. In our modern world, such a concept might even seem disturbingly offensive in concept to parents seeing their child as only theirs and (for good reasons) not wanting their children to be so trusting of others in viwing them as proverbial "mommies" and "daddies." But to then fear this book for having a said "hidden" agenda of a homosexual nature is the only truly reprehensible thing.

This book is an endearing story and perfectly innocent for children. It is not housing any agenda of any kind and only a diseased mind would think otherwise.

As a Christian heterosexual male, I am ashamed of the all too frequent nonsense that many in the Christian community are saying and claiming. Poor examples for Christians such as Falwell and Pat Robertson, who in their sporadic fits of self-rigtheous retardation, offer not the New Testament message of God's eternal love and peace but rather the erroneous message of the ended era of Law, namely condemnation, wrath, and destruction (such as Robertson more than implying God would soon wipe off Dover, Pennsylvania for voting in upholding separation of Church and State).

And even if they were "gay" Penguins and creationism is completely true, then would not have God have created (yikes) "gay" Penguins? Hmm...

No word if the two male penguins and the purse carrying Telly Tubby are mingling yet, but I am sure Rev. Falwell will keep us all appraise of the situation.

God bless our nation--and SAVE it from its stupidity! AMEN.
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on November 23, 2006
We bought this for a child who has two fathers and no mother. Her real father and her step-father are her legal parents. There is no homosexuality in the family. How many thousands of children have the same family structure? I suppose there are many family structures that children live with from the faults of disaster, war, death, disease/disability, multiple divorces and remarriages, migration, immigration, and incarceration. If kids feel better about their homes and families from reading this cute book maybe the bigots can find trouble, suspicion, hatred, and ignorance somewhere else.
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on March 26, 2007
I am a kindergarten teacher and I find this book to be an excellent way to demonstrate "alternative" kinds of love. It's not "political" although it has been controversial. It's a true story about 2 male penguins who become close companions and who nurture and egg and baby penguin together. It didn't shock my students. They take life how it is and recognise love and goodness. I highly recommend this book for every elementary class!
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on March 3, 2006
I had never heard of this book before until my boss bought it for my daughter for Christmas. All I have to say is this is a magnificent book that shows the differences of families and that anyone that wants to have a family deserves it. Granted, it's about penguins, but it still makes a very important point. I want my daughter to be raised with tolerence of people that are different and of families that might not be your conventional family. I don't want her to grow up thinking that certain groups of people shouldn't get to have the same rights that her mommy and daddy do. This book is a great start.
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on August 3, 2008
So, let's clear it up at the start for all of you who may be shocked, shocked I say, at the content.

This is a story about a same-sex penguin couple and their adopted chick. It's a true story. This behavior is actually pretty common in the non-human world. If this disturbs you, hit the back button on your browser now.


Okay, now, for the rest of you. There are two ways of dealing with a "controversial" topic. You can put it in the background, normalizing it, or you can make it the focus. This book chose the latter option.

I was a little worried that the text of the book might be too stuffy, because, after all, it's an "issues" book, right?

I was wrong.

It really is well-written, as just what it is - a sweet story about two penguins in love who really want a little chick of their own. It's not heavy handed, it's not overdone, it's perfect. (And, bonus, my nieces both loved pointing out the animal clock by the zoo. We stop by there every time we're in the area, because I used to stop by there with my dad. Nice connection for NYC families!)

I definitely recommend this book for anybody who is not against the message of "Love makes a happy family". (Or the other message of "Penguins are really cute.")
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on June 19, 2007
I believe many people may read the book and see that it is a story of two penguins of the same gender raising a baby penguin and completely write it off as, at best, rubbish or, at worst, propaganda. To me it is just a lovely story that says there are all different kinds of families and as long as there is love, any family will do. That message is appropriate for every age, I think.

Of course there are people who wish the world to be as black and white as the subjects of the book, and when given evidence to the contrary foam at the mouth and allow personal hatred and fear embolden their voices. You'll have that.

As to the reviewer, and others who believe likewise, that the story is a lie becuase the penguins are not "together" any longer...well, I'm sorry to point this out, but the present doesn't negate the past. The events actually happened and so the story, by definition, is not a lie. The ending's just different.

The book itself is wonderful. Well told and well worded.
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