Banned Book Club: And Tango Makes Three

Title: And Tango Makes Three

Published: 2005

Author: Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell (illustrated by Henry Cole)

Challenge status: Last year (2012) it was the #5 most challenged book tracked by ALA/OIF. #1 most challenged book in 2010, 2008, 2007 & 2006 (#2 in 2009).

Why: Homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group.

First line: “In the middle of New York City there is a great big park called Central Park.”

Synopsis: I literally don’t know how to write this review. The book for young children, ages 4+ (pre-school to grade 3). It is based on a true story about two penguins who acted as “surrogates” to an unhatched egg (one penguin couple had two eggs, but could only care for one through the hatching process). The key point is that the two penguins acting as surrogates were both male – a and a couple – so the baby penguin (Tango) gets hatched by two daddies. It’s adorable, and it’s about love (the only direct commentary is when the zookeeper thinks to himself that Roy and Silo “must be in love”, but otherwise the book is simply about a loving family unit)

It’s easy to imagine the arguments that a same-sex (albeit penguin) couple successfully hatching and raising a baby has generated – on both sides. So let’s skip it. Main takeaway: Adorable and awesome penguins are adorable and awesome. It’s people that are crazy.


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