And Tango Makes Three
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The children’s book, And Tango Makes Three is about a pair of Chinstrap Penguins called Silo and Roy whose home is in New York’s Central Park Zoo. Written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, it is a true story covering six years of the lives of the penguin pair. The story begins when the two penguins formed a couple and were given a fertilized egg to nurture. They duly did their duty until Tango - a baby penguin - was hatched. However, as this And Tango Makes Three essay will demonstrate, the book caused a considerable amount of controversy. In 2006, for example, the American Library Association received close to 550 formal requests for the book to be removed from libraries (Suhr 7). One of the most convincing representations for removing the book related to the fact the penguins were both male and their pairing was of a homosexual nature (Mitrano 14). From a critical examination of the book, however, it comes across to the reader that homosexual activity is something that simply happens and does not represent the opinions of homophobes. Moreover, the accusations of the book being immoral were based on the fact that Silo and Roy share the same nest and sleep in it together. Yet it is unlikely that the targeted readers – children aged four years to eight – will associate this with sexual behavior.
A further claim relates to the issue of the book being anti-family, which is also often associated with same-sex pairings (Mitrano 14). However, as this story demonstrates, it is worth noting that there is more to creating a family that the biological aspect - love, nurture and care are also factors in its creation. Additionally, Richardson (author) draws attention to how animals create families explaining how, at the same time every year boy and girl penguins start noticing each other, and when the “right girl and right boy find each other, they become a couple” (Richardson 6). In any case, Silo and Roy proved good at parenting. Considering the claims from every angle, it can be said the controversy is unwarranted.
Student 1 concurs that the story of Silo and Roy has caused controversy over whether a child should be raised by a same gender couple or not. According to this true story, however, the zookeeper saw that the penguin pair loved each other and presented them with the fertilized egg to avoid it breaking. Student 1 says that children can be taught that a child can be raised by any same gender parents, irrespective of what other people think. This is indeed true given that this penguin pair were good parents to their chick. Another noteworthy point for this And Tango Makes Three essay, is that the story demonstrates that same gender parenting is not exclusive to humans but also extends to animals. In addition, as Student 1 notes, even though it is thought not to be natural, it is an actual occurrence in nature too.
Student 2 is of a similar mind to Student 1 in reiterating that the controversy primarily concerns the issue of whether a child can be raised by same gender parents. Student 2 goes on to note that even though the story brings homosexuality issues to the fore, it does a lot to show children that all humans are equal. It teaches children that families come in different shapes and sizes, but the truth is that Tango has a family like any other, even though it is comprised of two dads. This analysis also concludes that everyone has a right to choose the lifestyle that suits them and it should not cause society to discriminate against them. Hence, whatever a person’s sexual orientation, all people are equal.