Book review: And Tango makes three #bookaday

And Tango makes three book coverby Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell; illustrated by Henry Cole
Picture book/non-fiction
ALA Notable Children’s Books 2006
Interest level: K-3
Reading level: 2.6
4 out of 5 stars


When you see the adorable penguin illustrations in this book, it makes you wonder how this book ends up on the banned books list every year. It is a true story about a penguin couple at the Central Park Zoo in New York City who are unable to have their own chick, but one day the zookeeper needs a surrogate family for an egg and the couple hatch and raise Tango. And they all live happily ever after.

The controversy arises because the couple are both male penguins. While their story is unique for penguins, it is also beautifully told. This penguin couple instinctively was like every other penguin couple in the zoo — they created a nest together, incubated the egg, and raised the chick like all penguins do. It’s no big deal for them.

The message that children can get from the story is that all families are different, but the love and nurturing of parents/guardians is a thread that makes them all similar too.

This book is commonly shelved with fiction picture books, but I think it would more accurately fit in the non-fiction section. It is a true story.

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