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And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson

And Tango Makes Three (original 2005; edition 2005)

by Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,1141667,413 (4.42)27
nnicolic's review
This story is about two male penguins in a zoo who sit on a rock thinking it is an egg to hatch. The zookeeper switches out the rock for an egg and the penguins take turns sitting on the egg and it hatches. The three penguins live together as a family in the zoo. This book does present homosexuality in a soft, appropriate way, but because it is such a controversial topic, I wouldn't read it to my future class. ( )
  nnicolic | Apr 26, 2012 |
All member reviews
Showing 1-25 of 166 (next | show all)
This is a banned book. aka very controversial
The penguins are homosexual and adopt and care for a baby penguin. The two male penguins are based off a true story that happened in a zoo.
Different but not bad family dynamics. Love is the foundation for any family unit.
  mollybeaver | Oct 6, 2014 |

I chose this for Banned Books Week but I couldn't wait any longer to read it.

Disappointingly my library copy came with a warning slapped on the cover. What's to be frightened about with 'same sex families'?

Based on a real life story, two male penguins pair up and want what comes naturally to all other animals. They want to to procreate.

And every morning Roy and Silo woke up together. But one day Roy and Silo saw that the other couples could do something they could not.


Roy and Silo had no egg to sit on and keep warm.
They had no baby chick to feed and cuddle and love.
Their nest was nice, but it was a little empty.

Is someone chopping onions? My eyes are leaking.

They found a rock and tried to hatch it, mimicking the other penguins by taking turns to sit on it to keep it warm. And of course, nothing happened. Until a zookeeper gave them a real egg.

Then finally they were 'just like all the other penguin families' as loving and nurturing parents to their offspring.

And Tango Makes Three is a beautiful story and a lovely way to introduce children to homosexuality in a normalized fashion.

Here's the human equivalent. Another family like any other, yet the first photo sparked a deluge of racist and homophobic comments.

You can read more about them in their book Picture Perfect?.

I think the most unconventional family I've come across was in a documentary about a couple who were gay female-to-male transgendered. One of them had undergone gender reassignment surgery and the other used his uterus to have babies via a sperm donor. They had three or four children and were loving parents.

Love is love, and family is what you make it. If any child in a neglectful or abusive situation were to be offered a loving home with a gay couple, I'm sure they'd jump at the chance. As long as the children are loved, who really cares if their parents are gay, straight or transgendered? ( )
  Cynical_Ames | Sep 23, 2014 |
Richardson, J., & Parnell, P. (2005). And Tango makes three. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

This is a true story about Roy and Silo, two male penguins at the Central Park Zoo. Together, this pair raised a baby of their own after a kind zookeeper noticed that they had tried to hatch a rock that resembled an egg. Instead, the zookeeper decided to give them an unwanted egg from another nest so that they could complete their family. That unwanted egg was Tango!
  KaelaDelgado | Aug 1, 2014 |
Interesting true story about two male penguins who love each other and build a nest (as well as a life) together. ( )
  skm88 | Jun 8, 2014 |
This book is based off of the true story of penguins in the New York Zoo. This two male penguins fall in love, and after there is some reason a mother can't raise their baby, Tango (as an egg) is given to these two male penguins to raise. They do, eventually Tango hatches, and now there are three of them in their New York, non-traditional penguin family. ( )
  alarso2 | May 19, 2014 |
It is a story that will capture the hearts of all ages. I love the sotry and the fact that it based on a true story is incredible. And Tango Makes Three will be enjoyed by everyone and the class will be rooting for the penguins to raise their baby!
  Talwold | May 17, 2014 |
True story of 2 male penguins who mate up at a zoo and care for another couples egg. They carry on as a family just as the other pairs do. This is a great book to discuss types of family stuctures as well as adoption or just caring for another. ( )
  Trinityc | May 15, 2014 |
This picture book was truly an enjoyable read. Based off a true story of an unconventional penguin couple, the illustrations and text present a heart warming story that to have a family all you need is love. ( )
  arodri13 | May 7, 2014 |
This book could be classified as an informational book because it does have true facts in it. This has become one of my favorite children’s books I have read so far. I am slightly biased because penguins are my favorite animals, which made this all the better for me. First, I like how at the end the author tells reveals how it is a true story of two penguins in love at the Central Park Zoo. Another thing I really liked about this book is how it tackles a very controversial topic of same sex relationships lightly. The authors do this by making the reader feel comfortable with the fact that both penguins are male. The story holds true that true love comes in all forms and families can come in all forms as well. Shows that although both penguins were male they still showed Tango more love than his true parents did. The main idea was of this book was to look beyond traditional views of what a family should be, that love and care can exist anywhere. ( )
  kwiggi3 | May 6, 2014 |
And Tango Makes Three is about two male penguins at the San Fransisco Zoo. Roy and Silo are two male penguins that do everything together and one day when they want to have a baby just like all the other penguins, they are given an egg. They take turns taking care of the egg until one day they are no longer two, they are three.

I loved this And Tango Makes Three. I would want to share it with my students, if it doesn't become a problem. I would recommend this book to grades prek-3. ( )
  aloupe | Apr 24, 2014 |
This book is about two male penguins who chose to be in relationship with one another. They act like all the male and female couples except they are not able to care for an egg. They are gifted an abandoned egg to care for. They do a great job keeping it safe and warm. When it hatches they raise the little girl penguin and are a happy little family. ( )
  azlanshae | Apr 22, 2014 |
“And Tango Makes Three” was a phenomenal book about family, and how no matter what type of family it is it can be a great one. I love that this story is based off of a true story. I this book allowed me to be pulled in for throughout the book it is never said that both penguins are male it is more implied. So this pulled me in to the book even more for at first I wasn’t sure as to why the two penguins couldn’t have their own egg. I also enjoyed the illustrations because they were very realistic with beautiful color. This pulled me into the book because it caused me to feel like I was at the zoo watching all of this happen. Not just reading a book. I also enjoyed that the illustrations weren’t full of bright vibrant colors because if it was I feel that it would have caused a distraction and pulled me away from the text. ( )
  KiTiraShorter | Apr 16, 2014 |
This book is about two male penguins who love each other and eventually get a baby penguin of their own. This main message of this story is about family. I really loved this story! One reason I really liked it was because even though it is a true story, it was written as a narrative. I thought that style was interesting and made the book more appealing. Another thing I really liked about the book was the author’s note that gave some of the information about the real penguins. I like when authors give factual information so that readers can connect the story to the real world. A third thing I really loved about this book was the story itself. Even though it was about penguins, to me it showed that homosexual relationships are natural and that they are not big deal and do not make a group of people any less of a family. ( )
  MelissaPatek | Apr 12, 2014 |
I really enjoyed this book for a few reasons. I really enjoyed the plot of the book. I like how it talks about the penguins and how they like to spend time together, not making it seem like they are even in love, just more along the lines of being friends. It then talks about how the penguins obviously have feelings for each other, even though they are both males. Then the problem comes about when they realize they cannot have a baby because they are both male. However, I enjoyed how it worked out in the end and how they got a donation from another penguin so they could have a baby of their own. I thought it was a good plot to the story. I also liked how on certain pages, there were several illustrations. For example, the eggshell hatching. It showed how the egg changed overtime and how the egg began whole then began to crack and how the penguin came out at the end. I think the overall message is to show children that love does not have to be a female and a male. There may be some obstacles, but if its true love, nothing can break it apart. ( )
  jobend2 | Apr 8, 2014 |
“And Tango Makes Three” was a touching book that exposes children to gay parents without using actual people. What I liked most about this book was the main message, that although someone may be gay it does not make them any different. This message was expressed when the author describe how Roy and Silo did everything the same as the other straight penguins. Also in the book, the illustrations to show how Tango's egg cracked was pretty neat. It showed the reader over time that Tango was about to come into the world. ( )
  CatherineWillett | Apr 8, 2014 |
This book is about two male penguins who spend every waking moment together. When they see that they are the only penguin couple that do not have a baby penguin they become upset and the zookeeper gives them an extra egg to take care of. I thought this book was OK. I am a bit indifferent about it. ( )
  BaileyR | Apr 7, 2014 |
I really enjoyed the story “And Tango Makes Three” because it was based off of a true story about three penguins at the Central Park Zoo in New York City. Because the occurrences actually happened, I believe that the book takes on a different meaning. I also enjoyed this story because the illustrations were very cute and appropriate for the story. The penguins were drawn with smiles in most of the pictures, while their faces frowned in the picture that they were upset. For example, the page where their rock “egg” didn’t hatch, both penguins looked into the nest with frowns. I believe these elements added to the story, which is the definition of a true picture book. The main idea of this book was to tell the true story of two male penguins that chose each other as mates. ( )
  kburdg1 | Apr 7, 2014 |
I really enjoyed this story. I liked the illustrations of the egg hatching in the story. The way the illustrator portrayed twelve images of the egg hatching all on the same page shows the passing of time. I also enjoyed the plot of the book because it showed how a child can have two fathers instead of a father and a mother but still be okay. The big idea of this story is that it is okay to be different because that is what makes one different, ( )
  lpicke2 | Apr 6, 2014 |
“And Tango Makes Three” follows the true story of two male penguins at the Central Park Zoo who fall in love and are given the chance to raise a baby penguin of their own, whom the zookeeper names Tango. The message of this story was that all types of love and families are the same. The author made this message clear in many ways. The first way he supported this claim was by comparing the male penguin couple, Roy and Silo, to the female, male couples. For example the author says that Roy and Silo “did everything together. They bowed to each other....They sang to each other. And swam together.“ The author also states that Roy and Silo tried to copy the other penguins that were laying and taking care of their eggs by caring for a rock. These comparisons seem very subtle when reading the book but the author is showing the reader that Roy and Silo are capable and do all of the same things as the other couples. By making these comparisons the author shows that their relationship and love is just the same as all the other penguin couples. Another way that the author supported this message was showing that Roy and Silo were fully capable of taking care of an egg and baby. Although they were not able to have their own eggs, they were given an egg that needed caring for from the zoo keeper. Roy and Silo were able to take care of their egg and baby just as well as all of the other couples and the author states that their baby, Tango, is thriving today and living the same life as all the other penguins. By doing this the author shows that Roy, Silo, and Tango are living a completely normal life and their family is the same as all the other families in the zoo. I enjoyed this story mainly because of the message that it got across and knowing that it was a true story. I also enjoyed this story for the illustrations. They were very cute and fun. Also, some pages showed multiple picture which helped in showing time lapses or processes. I also enjoyed how some sentences were separated on the page or across the pages to add suspense, emphasis, or time lapse. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book and loved how the author got his message across. ( )
  CarolinePfrang | Apr 2, 2014 |
I absolutely loved reading And Tango Makes Three. I loved this book because of the illustrations and the characterization of Roy and Silo. The illustrations were unique because there were multiple separate illustrations on each page. For example, there was one page showing many animals in various pictures. Some of the animals included a red panda, toucans, and monkeys. This variety in the illustrations really adds excitement and color to the storyline. I also loved the characterization of Roy and Silo. I thought they were great because they displayed such an innocence and love for one another. They both did not understand why they were different from the other penguins. The two male penguins just knew they loved each other and wanted a family. I especially love when all the penguins are warming their eggs while Roy and Silo watch in confusion. The main message I took from this story is that everyone deserves a family and everyone deserves to be loved regardless of any differences they may have from others. ( )
  NikkiDahlen | Apr 1, 2014 |
I thought that this was a really great book. I have never really read a book quite like it, in terms of it being a true story about animals yet it was a picture book. Two male chinstrap penguins in the Central Park Zoo, named Rio and Salvo, became very close and did everything the other penguin couples were doing. They could do everything the others did, except one thing—conceive penguins. Their zookeeper gave them an egg that needed to be cared for, eventually named Tango. Tango became the first penguin to ever have two fathers! Although Rio and Salvo were unsure at first how to raise their young penguin, they quickly adapted and their love shines through this book. Although there has been much controversy surrounding this book, I thought it was a cute book that does a very nice job depicting a different type of family. The text was very forthright and did not change the words used to be culturally sensitive, rather it said exactly what happened. For example, “Tango was the very first penguin in the zoo to have two daddies.” I think it is such a great book that introduces different types of families while encouraging different perspectives, too. I thought the illustration style fit the written text in a nice way. At some points in the book there were pages that had multiple illustrations, demonstrating a sequence of events explained in the text. The big idea of this story is love, families, and same-sex parenting. I do not think this book heavily stresses homosexuality but it shows that if two people love one another first, they can transfer their love to their child. This book is a parable showcasing true events and it’s hard to realize people do not accept it. It is demonstrating something that happened in the animal kingdom and there is nowhere in the text where it explicitly relates to the human implications. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. ( )
  sarabeck | Apr 1, 2014 |
I have read this book in the past and I have heard mixed opinions on it being read in the classroom. Regardless I love this book and the story behind it. The fact that it is a true story and takes place in NYC makes it even more likable to me. I have actually been to that zoo and seen the penguins, but was not aware at the time of the story behind them. I think the story is cute and just depicts a different type of family too children. The story is straight forward “Tango was the very first penguin in the zoo to have two daddies.” I also liked how the illustrations went along directly with the text and sometimes a page would have more than one illustration on it. The big idea of this story is parenting and homosexuality. ( )
  mderob1 | Mar 27, 2014 |
In the zoo there are all kinds of families, but Tango is a little different than all the other families.
  alishablaire | Mar 18, 2014 |
I have wanted to read this book after hearing about it being banned and challenged in various schools. I'm a little biased, but I really loved this book. I thought it was a sweet story about penguins that could also serve as a tool for discussing homosexuality with children. I also loved that the book didn't treat the penguins' "homosexual" behavior as an issue (besides that they were sad because they didn't have an egg at first). I understand why it was banned, but definitely think it's a valuable item for all school libraries. ( )
  LoisHaight | Mar 17, 2014 |
Based on true events at a zoo, this is the story of two penguins who "adopt" a baby penguin named Tango. Although initially they do not quite know what to do with the young penguin, the new adoptive parents quickly learn to love and care for their new ward. Illustrator Henry Cole's watercolor scenes set a bright and friendly tone to the story.

Although some people may not approve of the LGBT tone of the book (i.e. two male penguins implies homosexuality), I would assure parents and caregivers that this book is simply about what makes a family. It is a very positive message about love and care of children -- particularly those who do not have biological caregivers for one reason or another. By using a much loved animal species as the main characters, the author presents a gentle story about family and belonging. This title could be included in a book list or display about adoption and families or, more generally, zoo life. ( )
  aeisen9 | Mar 17, 2014 |
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