A love story that dared: two penguins teach about devotion, family and openness of mind

Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell, And Tango Makes Three. Illustrated by Henry Cole

Published 2005 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 32p


And Tango Makes Three is a book based on a real story of Roy and Silo, two male chinstrap penguins living in New York Central’s Park Zoo.  They discovered each other in 1998 and became a couple that made international sensation.

Studies show that homosexual behavior at animals is not something unusual and it is not resumed to sexual relations; affection, courtesy, devotion, bonding and parenting are included. The staff never saw Roy and Silo engaged in a sexual act, their relation was defined mainly by mating rituals and couple routine.

Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell retold the story extremely tender and Henry Cole’s watercolor illustrations are very expressive.

Roy and Silo were both boys. But they did everything together. They bowed to each other. And walked together. They sang to each other. And swam together. Wherever Roy went, Silo went too. … Roy and Silo wound their necks around each other. Their keeper Mr. Gramzay noticed the two penguins and thought to himself, ‘”They must be in love”.

Then the penguins built a nest and they tried to hatch a rock that resembled an egg. Assisting this touching scene, the zoo keeper gave the two an egg that needed to be taken care of. Very naturally and with extreme affection the two dads took turns to sit on the egg until it hatched.

 Out came their very own baby! She had fuzzy white feathers and a funny black beak. Now Roy and Silo were fathers. “We’ll call her Tango”, Mr. Gramzay decided, “because it takes two to make a Tango.”

The story is a celebration of family, faithfulness and love. Children will discover that there are many kinds of love and everybody needs a family while parents will recall tolerance and the idea that sexuality has more expansive meanings and is not only about reproduction.

Complement your reading with a beautiful story about the courage to be different or with a novel that speaks about options.


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