Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Banned Book #5: And Tango Makes Three

Richardson, Justin and Peter Parnell.
And Tango Makes Three.
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.
Guided Reading Level: Q

Summary from Barnes & Noble:

At New York City's Central Park Zoo, two male penguins fall in love and start a family by taking turns sitting on an abandoned egg until it hatches.

Reason(s) for Banning:
  • "Homosexual Undertones"
My Thoughts:

This is another one of those books that I raved about on an earlier post. My review from Gay and Lesbian Pride Month is shown below:
Based on a true story about two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo, And Tango Makes Three is a very sweet story that shows children that it is okay to be accepting of diversity and situations different from your own. That central theme, coupled with the all of the recent legislation regarding same-sex marriages and civil unions, which are making these new family dynamics a reality in many districts, this is definitely a book to include in a classroom library!

We follow different families at the zoo - monkey families, red panda bear families, toad families, toucan families and cotton-top tamarind families and even penguin families. However, one penguin family at the zoo is different than the other families... at an age when the boy penguins typically started to show an interest in the girl penguins, Roy and Silo stand out from the other penguins. Instead of liking girls, these two boy penguins begin showing an interest in each other. We watch as their relationship develops (in child-friendly ways, of course) and as they eventually are able to start a family of their own. Children will be shown to be accepting of these differing families by the positive way in which the public reacts as they stream into the zoo to visit baby Tango and her two daddies, Roy and Silo.

I will definitely share this book with my own children someday. I have a brother who is gay and I want my future children to be very accepting of this way of life, rather than looking at it as a negative way of life. In using the book in a classroom, I'd have to take a slightly different approach. Sadly, not all parents would be open to their children listening to a story that features this topic. The book could not solely be used as a read-aloud in a classroom unless perhaps a gay or lesbian couple had a child in the class and wanted the classmates to understand and accept their child. The book would also fit into a unit on families.

What I enjoyed the most about this book was that it showed that gay penguins were no different from the other penguins in their zoo pen. It's definitely worthy of a spot on the bookshelf, awaiting the perfect teachable moment!

I do want to make mention of an article I saw a few months back about a pair of gay penguins "splitting." These penguins are not the same penguins that are the center of focus in And Tango Makes Three. The penguins in "Tango" are from the Central Park Zoo... the penguins that split are from the San Francisco Zoo and the article relating to this news can be found here.

I'm pretty sure my review, posted above, sums up exactly what I think about this book being banned... there's absolutely no reason for banning this book. If it's a book that you're not comfortable sharing with your child(ren), don't share it... however, keep in mind that we live in an ever-changing society, and that gay marriages are slowly becoming a norm. Shouldn't we all want to be open with our children and instill in them the value of acceptance (even if you don't agree with a lifestyle, accept people for who they are) and everyone having equal rights?

Your Job - Share your thoughts on the following topics on this post!
  • Should the book be on the banned book list?
  • Is it okay to be found on a library or book store shelf?
  • How would you share this book with your child/children?
  • If you are not familiar with the book, based on my post and the discussion of others, would you consider allowing your child to read/be read this book? Why? Why not?
If you're interested in finding out more information about any of the books reviewed or if you'd like to purchase the books, click the cover image for a link to Amazon.com.


style='clear: both;' Amanda said...

I love, love, love this book! And while I was working at the library had not a single complaint about the content, though did have trouble keeping it on the shelves. Kids and parents alike really enjoyed it, to my happy surprise!