My rating: 4 of 5 stars
If you want to read this book first, please do so. I am about to spoil the entire plot of this easy book that can be read by an adult in 6 minutes. I'll wait after the jump.
So the book starts out with establishing shots of Central Park and its inclusion of a zoo with many animal families. Enter Roy and Silo, two male penguins that hang out together, do everything together including building a nest and do not really pay attention to the lady penguins. After a while, Roy and Silo start to notice other penguin couples are hatching eggs, so they try to do it with a rock. When the rock does not hatch a little fuzzy penguin, the keeper, Mr. Gramzey, gives the two an egg from two other penguins. Roy and Silo take diligent care of the egg until it hatches the baby "Tango," named by Mr. Gramzey because "it takes two to tango." Tango grows into a healthy penguin and hangs with his two dads.
Why was it banned?
It is easy to see the homosexual references the book presents that would make some jerks parents uncomfortable, especially after the book tells us the keeper believes they are "in love." Opponents of same sex marriage and parenting would have issue with the message that the book sends.
Another angle to take would be from biologists on the anthropomorphizing of animals and their attachments. Putting labels like "love" and "happiness" on animal relationships, while well known in children's literature and movies, can lead to folks being eaten by bears. This is a true story, but there is a danger in equating wild animal relationships with human relationships. We are simply different creatures and however our biology dictates behavior, the psychology of a higher human mind does create differences in our behaviors.
Also a biology thing is the ethical question of a keeper giving an egg to animals that are exhibiting differing behavior than the norm. While male penguins in the wild are very caring of their young, who knows what could happen when introducing another penguin couples egg into the mix? I am not equating this to humans, and I know that there are tons of examples of animals caring for another animal's young, but other animals eat other animal's young, too.
The watercolor-type illustration is good and the writing is tight. I enjoyed the story and found it to be touching and delightful. I wanna see these penguins in real life.
As far as it being banned, I kept thinking while reading this book: Would it change anything if this was a male/female couple raising another couple's egg? I have seen Lifetime movies about that and those flicks always end with a court case. I can see the original parents, Betty and Porkey, causing a long, drawn-out court case to get Tango back. Or what about a female/female couple? Sure, it would be hot penguin action, but would it make as much difference to detractors as two males?