Veronica of V's Reads's Reviews > And Tango Makes Three

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson
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it was amazing
bookshelves: contemporary, male-male, picture-book, innocent-fun

This picture book is perennially on the Banned/Challenged list as curated by the ALA. Their reason? Homophobia, I guess. The official word is Unsuitability for the Age Group. Why? Was my question, so I read it with my 6 y/o son. (In truth he read it to me. Kid's gotta learn to read. We spend 20+ minutes a night on early readers.)

This is a non-fiction picture book about true events at the New York Zoo. Two male penguins, Roy and Silo, make a pair bond. Other penguins form heterosexual pairs. These pair bonds usually last a long time. The primary penguin keeper notices that Roy and Silo build a nest together like the hetero penguin couples. They do a mating dance together. They even place an egg-shaped rock into their nest, and tend it like a couple of anxious parents. After two breeding seasons of this behavior, the penguin keeper places a spare egg into their empty nest. They tend this egg with all the solicitousness of all the other pair bonds, trading off egg sitting duty with feeding activity. The egg hatches and Roy and Silo tend the chick, Tango, as all the other mated pairs do. They raise her like proud parents, and she thrives.

This is a sweet example of parentage. It's a natural anomaly, perhaps, but illustrates that there are species of animal that allow same-sex pairings, and that those same-sex parents can provide a loving environment to offspring. I found the book charming, as did my 6 y/o. He wasn't even sure what the fuss was, but then again he has two friends that have two mothers, no fathers. So, he's not irrevocably scarred, and thought the pictures were fantastic. I will admit the art was lovely, and so approachable. My little guy thought the pictures of Tango were the best. If this book had a hetero penguin couple not one eyelash would be batted. Not one complaint raised. Is the material suitable for the age group? Without question, unless you simply abhor all mention of same-sex couplings.

As a scientist, I'm just going to state that there are many of species (I think 100+) of animal that exhibit documented same-sex pairings in the wild. Those persons who think same-sex pairings are "unnatural" really ought to investigate that theory in light of the actual evidence.

This story has no overt "homosexual" agenda. All the statements are matter-of-fact with no bias as to the suitability of such parentage. The facts are stated in a way that is straight-forward and fully digestible to young kids. If I hadn't dug deeper with my own child, by asking him about it, he honestly would not have even noticed that Tango had two fathers. And this is a kid who questions everything...

His opinion of the story: I liked it. I like penguins. What about Tango having two daddies?: *shrug*
Maybe we should all just shrug. Because life. It's non-fiction, yo. Anyone out there who's comparing humans and animals, though, regarding same-sex attraction ought to consider that humans are far more complicated beings regarding attraction. We are picky beings. We choose those we believe may also choose us. We preen. We do mating dances, of a kind. We are not attracted wholesale to the bulk of humanity, but to those few specimens which meet our requirements, in general.

Just food for thought.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
January 23, 2016 – Shelved
January 23, 2016 – Shelved as: contemporary
January 23, 2016 – Shelved as: male-male
January 23, 2016 – Shelved as: picture-book
January 23, 2016 – Shelved as: innocent-fun
January 23, 2016 – Finished Reading

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