From School Library Journal
Starred Review. PreSchool-Grade 3-This tale based on a true story about a charming penguin family living in New York City\’s Central Park Zoo will capture the hearts of penguin lovers everywhere. Roy and Silo, two male penguins, are \”a little bit different.\” They cuddle and share a nest like the other penguin couples, and when all the others start hatching eggs, they want to be parents, too. Determined and hopeful, they bring an egg-shaped rock back to their nest and proceed to start caring for it. They have little luck, until a watchful zookeeper decides they deserve a chance at having their own family and gives them an egg in need of nurturing. The dedicated and enthusiastic fathers do a great job of hatching their funny and adorable daughter, and the three can still be seen at the zoo today. Done in soft watercolors, the illustrations set the tone for this uplifting story, and readers will find it hard to resist the penguins\’ comical expressions. The well-designed pages perfectly marry words and pictures, allowing readers to savor each illustration. An author\’s note provides more information about Roy, Silo, Tango, and other chinstrap penguins. This joyful story about the meaning of family is a must for any library.-Julie Roach, Watertown Free Public Library, MA
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*Starred Review* PreS-Gr. 2. Roy and Silo were \”a little bit different\” from the other male penguins: instead of noticing females, they noticed each other. Thus penguin chick Tango, hatched from a fertilized egg given to the pining, bewildered pair, came to be \”the only penguin in the Central Park Zoo with two daddies.\” As told by Richardson and Parnell (a psychiatrist and playwright), this true story remains firmly within the bounds of the zoo\’s polar environment, as do Cole\’s expressive but still realistic watercolors (a far cry from his effete caricatures in Harvey Fierstein\’s The Sissy Duckling, 2002). Emphasizing the penguins\’ naturally ridiculous physiques while gently acknowledging their situation, Cole\’s pictures complement the perfectly cadenced text–showing, for example, the bewildered pair craning their necks toward a nest that was \”nice, but a little empty.\” Indeed, intrusions from the zookeeper, who remarks that the nuzzling males \”must be in love,\” strike the narrative\’s only false note. Further facts about the episode conclude, but it\’s naive to expect this will be read only as a zoo anecdote. However, those who share this with children will find themselves returning to it again and again–not for the entree it might offer to matters of human sexuality, but for the two irresistible birds at its center and for the celebration of patient, loving fathers who \”knew just what to do.\” Jennifer Mattson
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