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.