Review Blog

Mar 18 2016

And Tango makes three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

cover image

Ill. by Henry Cole. Simon and Schuster, 2015. ISBN 9781481448840
(Age: 3 - adult) Highly recommended. Animals, Chinstrap penguins, Family, New York. This tenth anniversary edition deserves a place in every library. The true story of two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo in New York is enough to bring tears to the eyes in its affirmation of what makes a family and what constitutes love.
The two penguins did everything together after meeting in 1998, so much so that when the female penguins formed partnerships with the males and made nests of stones ready for their eggs, Roy and Silo did too. They even found a stone to put in their nest to sit on and hatch like all the others. But it did not hatch.
The keeper, Mr Gramzay noticed that another pair had laid two eggs, and knowing that they were never able to raise more than one chick, moved one egg to the nest of Roy and Silo. They did everything the other penguins did: they sat on the egg, moving it to keep it warm, they slept on the egg, changing places when they needed to, until finally the egg hatched. And it was named Tango.
The trio became a most loved family amongst the penguin colony at Central Park Zoo, Silo and Roy teaching their chick to dive and swim, snuggle into their warmth at night and sing for its food.
This life affirming book confirms the place of family and the love that brings two together to make a family. Children need to see their own family make up in the books they read, and this goes a long way towards redressing the dearth of such books in the past.
An afterword of this anniversary edition tells us of the history of this book since it was first published. It makes salutary reading that in this age of Western freedoms, authorities seek to restrict some voices. The work of the parents in Singapore in stopping this book being pulped is wonderful and needs greater publicity, happening so recently (2014) A post script from the two authors telling us that they now have a daughter is a joyous end to a wonderful read.
Fran Knight

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