Sunday Penguin Blogging (don’t worry, this won’t become a regular feature)

There’s a story in today’s Observer about the children’s book, And Tango Makes Three, based on the true story of the love of Roy and Silo, two male penguins at New York’s Central Park Zoo. We bought a copy in San Francisco’s A Different Light last year for one of our nephews, and it’s a pretty good book, with lots of pictures of penguins in it.

The Observer article, however, does rather overdraw the contrast between “liberal Manhattanites” and “small towns in the American heartland”. Tango is basically a conservative text, which strongly implies that the gay penguins’ relationship is legitimated through the baby-penguin-rearing activity that transforms them into a family unit deserving of respect. So it’s basically an Andrew-Sullivan-inflected gay penguin children’s book.

What America needs is a book to celebrate the lives of queer and sluttish non-baby-penguin-rearing male penguins. This is a group that is strikingly underrepresented in America’s lucrative and high-profile children’s book market.

In addition to its pair-bonded lesbian geese (Alice and Gertrude, I think), San Francisco Zoo used to have a nymphomaniac lady penguin. I wonder what happened to her.

0 thoughts on “Sunday Penguin Blogging (don’t worry, this won’t become a regular feature)”

  1. I wish I knew less about the deviant sex lives of domesticated birds. I really do.

    Among the parrots at my workplace, the only same-species pairing is also same-sex. I feel oddly pleased about this. I think they’re all boringly monogamous, though none of them have reproduced yet. The two macaws have managed to produce eggs, which the female makes the male incubate while she stomps around outside. If he gets off the nest for more than a quick snack break, she screams at him. If the most wildly interspecies pair (Sam the Amazon parrot and Jenny the sulphur-crested cockatoo – they’re not even in the same family of birds) managed to make chicks, I think I would be very very scared. God knows what they’d look like.

    My boss managed to tell me that Coco and Kelly had retreated into their nestbox together without either of us using the phrase “OMG we have lesbian parrots.” Not quite sure how we managed that.

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