I know things have been rather quiet here recently. Between sickness bugs (plural) and a holiday I've found that I've not had a hu...

Banned Books Week: And Tango Makes Three

Monday, October 03, 2016 BookBairn Blog 9 Comments

I know things have been rather quiet here recently. Between sickness bugs (plural) and a holiday I've found that I've not had a huge amount of time to blog. We have still found lots and lots of time to read. And in fact I had to take a library of books with us on our holidays to keep little miss BookBairn happy. If you've missed our blog posts, I apologise - hopefully we are over the bugs and I'll have a bit more time to write again. I have still managed to keep our Instagram account up to speed with our latest book post and some favourites so if you want to see what we've been up to please pop on over and peruse!

Anyway, back to the books...

Last week was 'Banned Books Week' - a concept that I find wholly bizarre. Who's out there banning books? Surely they are there to push boundaries, expose truths, comment on society and challenge our thinking. Last year, BookBairn and I enjoyed reading 'The Family Book' by Todd Parr and reviewed it on the blog. This year, I discovered another controversial family book that I just love!

Celebrating it's tenth year, 'And Tango Makes Three' by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell with illustrations by Henry Cole, is based on the true story of two male penguins who raised a chick in te New York Central Park Zoo. And apparently, even ten years on, this book is still one of America's 'most complained about books'.


Roy and Silo do everything a normal penguin couple do: the bow to each other, they walk together, the sing to each other, and swim alongside each other. They even copy the other penguins and build a nest together. What they can't have is an egg to sit on. Part of the role of male penguins is that they sit of the eggs, often for months, waiting for the female to return with food, but Roy and Silo are denied this role due to the biological restrictions of being a male-male penguin couple. They watch on as the other penguin couples take turn sitting on their eggs and watching them hatch. Roy and Silo sweetly try sitting on a pebble hoping that will do the trick but alas no baby penguin hatches. Having watched all this going on Mr Gramzay, the penguin keeper has an idea: he gives them an abandoned egg to look after. Roy and Silo take turns sitting on the egg until one day they hear a "peep, peep, peep". They have their very own baby whom Mr Gramzay names Tango (after all it takes two to make a Tango!). Roy and Silo sing for her, feed her, snuggle her. Tango is the only penguin in the zoo to have two daddies!

What a delightful story! This is such a heart-warming tale that shows that all you really need to make a family is love. It is a beautiful story made all the sweeter for the fact that it is based on real penguins whose story you can read about in the author's note at the end. The illustrations in this book are delicate, using a simple colour palette featuring mainly blues and browns for the zoo landscape and soft black, white and grey for the penguins. Roy and Silo are such sweetly expressive little penguins it's hard not to fall for them. Given that this book is based on a true story, the penguins featured are Chinstrap Penguins rather than some of the more familiar breeds which makes this book all the more unique.

We all know that life is rarely simplified into black and white, and is more of a fuzzy (fluffy) shades of grey and to simplify this book into 'inappropriate' or 'banned' seems, to me, to be as equally simple-minded.

In my previous post about Banned Books I said that I wanted BookBairn to know that "not all families are the same and that's ok." I couldn't re-write this any better.

Love and Happy Reading from our unique family to yours,
Mummy and BookBairn xx


Click on the image above to find this book on amazon.co.uk   *This post contains Affiliate links.

9 comments:

  1. What a wonderful name for the baby penguin and a great title for the book. The book looks great and I'm sure BookBairn will love the story. She likes penguins. Who doesn't?

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  2. Harry Potter used to be banned in some US states because of the witchcraft content! I was always a bit outraged by that. Great to see equality and diversity from a very early age.

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    1. It's amazing what has been banned in the past, I hope we are beyond that now!

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  4. Oh I hadn't heard of this one. Totally lovely story, the thought of the two daddy penguins desperate to have a baby 😢 Hasn't BookBairn grown? 😀

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    1. Thanks Kate! She's growing so much so quickly! You will love this book x

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  5. I'm so sad to hear that you are were not feeling well, I do hope by now the sickness has passed. Such a shame that books with such value were banned simply because they did not fit within the confines of society. I think it's lovely the way you're introducing Bairn to these concepts and ideas. My friend recently shared a similar book, "Worm loves Worm". It's about two worms (which are non-gendered species) who want to get married. Books are such beautiful windows with which to share meaningful and difficult concepts with your children.

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    1. I will need to look into Worm loves Worm. I think books are a great way to show her things that we don't see so easily in a small community like ours. And this one is such a lovely story!

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