Saturday, August 30, 2008

Jacqui Reads Her Children Books That Other People Think Are Bad For Them

Elise Murphy started it. She vowed to read a banned or challenged book a week until October 4, in honor of the ALA's Banned Books Week. She invited her readers to join her Banned Book Challenge.*

You should know that the topic of other people, particularly hateful, closed-minded people, telling me what it's okay for my children or me to read gets me so worked up that I can't post intelligently about it or I would end up in a big, bad-word-laden snabblefrug. My heartrate is skyrocketing just mentioning it here. Breathe, Jacqui, breathe. You can play with your closed-minded voodoo dolls later.

I wanted in on the challenge. But I already have too many books on my To Read list. So, I decided I would choose from amongst the many horrible, permanent-emotional-injury-causing banned and challenged picture books. I promised Elise I'd read one to my children each week, and post about it on Friday.** Which gives us a new temporary weekly feature here in Jacqui's Room:

Jacqui Reads Her Children Books That Other People Think Are Bad For Them

Week One:
And Tango Makes Three
by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, illustrated by Henry Cole

The story of two male penguins at the Central Park Zoo who fell in love and raised baby Tango together. Based on a true story.

My review: I love this book. Borrowed it from the library and went out and bought it today. The story-telling is simple and straightforward, the illustrations adorable. The whole book rings with love and you can't help but get caught up in it.

I discussed it with Tinkerbell after we'd read it:

TINK: It was awesome.
JACQUI: What did you like about it?
TINK: Everything. I love everything. Can we read it again?
JACQUI: No, it's bedtime. Some other time. What did you not like about it?
TINK: Nothing.
JACQUI: Tink, there are some people who think kids shouldn't be allowed to read this book.
TINK: Why?
JACQUI: Well, remember when we talked about how there are some people who think men should only be allowed to fall in love with women, and women should never marry other women and all that?
TINK: (not at all making the connection) Yeah?
JACQUI: Well, those people worry because in this book a male penguin falls in love with another male penguin.
JACQUI: So, those people worry that if you read this book you'll think it's okay for people who are the same to love each other.
JACQUI: So they think then maybe you'll want to go out and marry another girl and be in love with her and they think that would be bad, bad, BAD.
TINK: That is dumb.
JACQUI: I think so.
TINK: Tango is so cute, Mama!
JACQUI: (to herself) Take that, book-haters...

*No, the challenge is not to see how many times I can use the words "banned books" in a tongue twisting paragraph. That part was accidental.
** Yes, I am well aware that Friday was yesterday. If only this were the only thing on which I am at least a day behind...


Marcia said...

You, behind? I'm in awe of how often you post.

Just wondering something, and I may be getting stupid here due to lack of bird knowledge, but do different species of penguins (I believe there ARE different types, right?) mate and raise young differently? Because the first thing that came to mind when I saw the book is how the male penguin warms the egg and the hatched chick (I think it's called a chick) while the female goes off to feed, and then she comes back and it's the male's turn to go. In nature, or in captivity, is it realistic, possible, or has it ever been observed that two penguin males pair up? In other words, I hope this book isn't giving wrong information about penguins just to be didactic? I fully understand using animal characters for a sensitive subject, but if you give a wrong impression about the particular animal in the process, I'd rather see human characters. Or am I off base?

Jacqui said...

Marcia, totally valid concern. The coolest thing about the book is that it is based on the true story of two male penguins at the zoo that really did fall in love and raise an egg another couple couldn't care for. I've edited my post to show that.


Elise Murphy said...

Sigh. I need that book. When Twin One was five, she told me she was going to marry her best (female) friend. Her friend was a little concerned because she wanted babies someday and she thought they'd need a boy and a girl for that. Twin One told her, "No problem! We can just buy our sperm."

Angela said...

Okay, I'm going to check out banned books at my library too!

Diane T said...

Tink is right. Banning that book IS dumb.

Alas, my book list is also too long to add more books, no matter how banned. (Unless I get to count the last Harry Potter as a banned book. I feel like treating my brain, after all that pain caused by Melville/Cooper/Thoreau.)

However, coming tomorrow to Haiku Review of a classic movie that was censored/banned in many countries! That can be just as awesome, but less time-consuming.

Jacqui said...

Ooh, Diane, we can't wait.

Elise, Tink was also engaged to her best friend for a while, but has moved on.

Angela, so glad to have corrupted you!

cindy said...

awww. i didn't know about this book. and based on a true story? that's awesome!!!

Jacqui said...

Cindy, isn't it? And it's as cute as it sounds, I promise.

Mary Witzl said...

Boy, I'm with you on the banned books. If my kids were still little, I guarantee you I'd go out and do the same thing.

When we were kids, my sisters and I asked our parents why two girls or two boys couldn't marry each other. It just didn't make any sense to us that they couldn't, no matter what people said. It still doesn't. Ignorant people quote the Old Testament's condemnation of homosexuality, but how many of the tenets of the Old Testament do we follow nowadays? How many Christians keep kosher? Who is careful not to blend flax and wool?

As for homosexuality in animals, I am no expert, but we had a male cat who was not interested in females and yet tenderly nursed a stray kitten. I don't think she got any nutrition from him, but she didn't seem to care.

And those penguins are cute!

Jacqui said...

Mary, the wool and flax thing is my new favorite comeback, I think...

Vijaya said...

My kiddos love this book.

I also think it's very typical for children to think that they can marry parents, siblings, grandparents, best friends. I think it's sweet ...

Thanks for posting banned book reviews.