And Tango Makes Three

Richardson, J., & Parnell, P. (2005). And tango makes three. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers.

This book tells the true story of a unique penguin couple at the Central Park Zoo who hatch, raise, and nurture a unique baby penguin of their own!

Genre: Nonfiction

Grade: 1st-4th

Readers who will like this book: Children who like animals, children who have “nontraditional” families, children who like true stories.

Response and rating: 5, This book is truly amazing. I love the fact that it is a nonfiction story about a gay couple essentially written in a form that children can understand and relate to. Many critics of the book say that it is poorly written and lacks any real beauty and flow, but I disagree. I think that the simplistic writing allows for more reader interpretation of the book’s message. After all, I think that because it is nonfiction, readers will take many different messages from the book. I think that more appreciation needs to be placed on the authors’ desire to share the story rather than on how perfect the writing is.

Reading Strategy: Venn Diagram (Tompkins pgs.144-147)

Lately in my fieldwork, I have seen my host teacher use Venn Diagrams quite regularly. This strategy involves students first brainstorming a list of the similarities and differences between two things, and then writing the list into a Venn Diagram in the appropriate spaces. For And Tango Makes Three, I think it would be great to create a Venn Diagram with students that compares their own family to Tango’s family. The goal of this strategy would be to help students realize that all families are loving, supportive, and wonderful.

A Venn Diagram would be appropriate for this book because, one, it can span across a large age range. The complexity of what is included in the diagram could be easily adjusted based on this. Second, it would be a great way to help students relate the possibly unfamiliar concept reflected in the story to their own lives in a positive light!

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