25 September 2007
And Tango Makes Three
Authors: Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
Illustrator: Henry Cole
In this charming book, two penguins at the New York Central Park Zoo fall in love and start a family. The twist? The two penguins are both dudes! And Tango Makes Three is based on the true story of Roy and Silo, two male penguins who become inseparable and, with the help of a progressive zookeeper, become the first same-sex couple at the zoo. This unique relationship soon makes them a featured attraction as they challenge the American public's perceptions of gender relations.
So what's next for this celebrity family? Well, having captured the imagination of animal lovers everywhere, Roy and Silo decide to leverage their newfound fame and request a transfer to the world-renowned San Diego Zoo. Not only will they get greater exposure at their posh new digs, but they will be able to live in a city that has unexpectedly found itself on cutting edge of gay rights. Last week Jerry Sanders, mayor of the overwhelmingly conservative San Diego, came out in support of gay marriage in a surprising and heartfelt announcement (see below).
Mayor Sanders is sure to encounter some backlash, but hopefully his gutsy announcement will set the example for other politicians. And who knows? If he can effectively utilize the adorable And Tango Makes Three crew to provide some much-needed P.R. support, he might even make it to the next election.
Library Controversy Note: Of course a children's book about a same-sex couple will stir some controversy. When it first came out, many concerned parents took issue with the penguins' rainbow connection and tried to shield their children from its unconventional portrayal of love. Most offended localities tried to ban the book, but in Missouri, parents had the bright idea to have the book moved to the school library's non-fiction section.
Politically savvy? Most definitely.
Whereas other parents went through official channels to get rid of the book and ran into legal difficulties, Missouri circumvented the system by burying it in the non-fiction section of the library... which is like hiding candy in the vegetable drawer. What kid is ever going to look for it there? Whether or not you agree with their stance on homosexuality, you have to give them some props for their kooky ingenuity.
Though this plan may backfire... now that And Tango Makes Three is in the non-fiction section, penguin homosexuality is officially a fact and will be used as a reference book for elementary school research projects on penguins all over Missouri. The Show Me State will never look at penguins the same again.
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This is good news for me. I'm writing a paper for a class and now I can add And Tango Makes Three in my bibliography!
aren't you a little bit old to be doing a research project on penguins?
The true life twist? This actually true: Tango is now paired with a fellow female penguin and Silo left Roy for a female as well. Odd family.
"Odd" in this case meaning that they've gotten far more interesting post-book. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
I'd always assumed it takes two to tango, but if the non-fiction section says it's three, who am I to argue? Oh, I'm Andy to argue, but the way. Also, it seems to me that the Show Me State is oftentimes more like the Please Don't Show Me I'm Covering My Eyes And Covering My Ears La-La-La-La-La State. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Wow, things have gotten interesting... should we be expecting the sequel, Silo Switches Teams, any time soon?
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