You might recall last spring, when two Missouri libraries reclassified And Tango Makes Three, the illustrated children’s book based on the real-life tale of two male penguins at the Central Park Zoo who “adopted” an egg and raised the hatchling together, after parents complained about the homosexual theme they saw in the story. Well, the craziness has spread to Shiloh, Illinois, where parents want to restrict access to the book at their elementary school’s library. In a report for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Angie Leventis describes how a group of parents has requested that the book be placed under restricted access so kids won’t be able to check it out without parental permission…not because they don’t like the gays, but because they don’t want their tykes asking a bunch of awkward questions.
For now, as AP reporter Jim Suhr follows up, the book isn’t going anywhere. In fact, the local school superintendent thinks the story’s “adorable” and perfectly suitable for 4-to-8-year-olds. Suhr also gets my favorite quote, from one of the protesting parents: “Kids have to be kids at this age. I don’t know why sexuality of any type is appropriate for kids that age.” Yes, that’s right, two penguins raising another penguin is “sexuality.” By this logic, perhaps we shouldn’t tell kids any stories that involve any kinds of parents; after all, even your mainstream heterosexual mommy and daddy fall under the category of “sexuality of any type.” Actually, that kind of sweeping elimination might work for that parent, who goes on to ask, “I feel they’re learning to count, learning colors. To make that leap to books—is that really appropriate school material?”
Books: Are they really appropriate school material? Or just seeds of subversion, waiting to corrupt our children’s minds?