Richardson, Justin and Peter Parnell (Authors), and Henry Cole (Illustrator). (2005). And Tango Makes Three. New York: Simon and Schuster.
And Tango Makes Three tells the true story of how two male penguins at Central Park Zoo formed a bonded pair and hatched an egg together. Chinstrap penguins Roy and Silo spent all their time together, ignored female penguins, built a nest together, and sat on rocks in an effort to become parents. Keeper Rob Gramzay decided to give them an egg from a two-egg nest and they cared for it until it hatched, then cared for their adoptive baby, Tango.
The art is really beautiful; the penguins are graceful and expressive without being cartoony, and the human “extras” are racially diverse. The story is educational and interesting, and told in an engaging, age-appropriate way. Children will be thrilled to find out that this is a true story.
And Tango Makes Three won an impressive number of awards: the 2005 ASPCA Henry Bergh Children’s Book Award, the 2006 Gustavus Myer Outstanding Book Award, the 2006 Nick Jr. Family Magazine Best Book of the Year, the 2006 Bank Street Best Book of the Year, and was a 2006 ALA Notable Children’s Book.
It’s also a frequently challenged book, because of being “anti-family” (huh?) and for homosexuality (despite never actually mentioning sexual behavior or the words gay or homosexual).