And Tango Makes Three (Justin Richardson & Peter Parnell)

Banned Books Week Day 3: Hello, everyone! Today, we read And Tango Makes Three, written by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell and illustrated by Henry Cole. This is a sweet true story about a very special family of chinstrap penguins at the Central Park Zoo.

Roy and Silo are not like the other male penguins in the penguin habitat. Instead of wanting to spend time with the girl penguins, they prefer to spend time with each other. They act just like the other penguin couples: they spend all their time together and build a nest that they share. They only thing missing from their family is something the other penguins have: an egg to care for. So their caretaker finds an egg that needs parents and gives it to Roy and Silo, who ecstatically care for their egg together. One day, their egg hatches, and they welcome their daughter Tango, making their family complete.

This adorable story about a same-sex penguin family raising an egg together has the dubious distinction of being the most banned and challenged book from 2006-2008, then again in 2010 (it dropped to second place in 2009) due to its positive portrayal of a same-sex relationship (again, between two PENGUINS). 

So what was our opinion? This is a lovely story about family, and how it doesn’t always have to look traditional to be warm and loving, and an informative book on how penguins find mates and raise families. The illustrations are darling, and JJ loved them. It was a bit long for a one-year-old, but she did okay with it, so older children would definitely love it. Baby Bookworm approved!

One Cool Friend (Toni Buzzeo)

Summer Reading Day 75: Our book today was One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo, with illustrations by David Small. One Cool Friend tells the story of a very proper little boy who gets a penguin named Magellan for a pet, and the misadventures the two have.

This was a cute book with a fun, silly story and a twist ending that made me chuckle. The art is adorable, and very reminiscent of Disney’s art from the 60’s and 70’s. My only two issues were that it was a bit long for a baby JJ’s age (however, it would be great for an older child), and the manner in which the little boy, Elliot, procures his penguin – which is to say, he STEALS him! Elliot sneaks Magellan out of an aquarium by stuffing him into a backpack and walking out. It is meant to show childish innocence, but the fact that he steals the penguin and then never returns him or makes amends for the theft left me nonplussed. Of course, this is a children’s picture book, but it definitely stood out as being an iffy message for youngsters. It’s a cute book otherwise, so I would say give it a read and decide for yourself.