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Project Open Books Visits the Central Park Zoo

Updated: Aug 16, 2021

Did you know that AND TANGO MAKES THREE is based on a true story? That’s right! In 1998, two male chinstrap penguins by the names of Silo and Roy discovered each other and remained a couple for several years thereafter. Two years after they met, another penguin couple named Betty and Porkey had an additional egg, which they were unable to care for. A zookeeper at the time, Rob Gramzay, decided to give this egg to Roy and Silo, so they could start a family of their own. Just like all of the kinds of families that visit the Central Park Zoo everyday, all kinds of animal families can be found living at the zoo, too!

Roy and Silo raised a baby girl penguin named Tango. Although these penguins are no longer at the Central Park Zoo, we at Project Open Books wanted to take one of our favorite children’s books, AND TANGO MAKES THREE, to the place where their story first began.

We visited the Central Park Zoo last Sunday and carried the book with us around to many of the animal enclosures. While we searched for the penguins and other seabirds, we visited the sea lions, harbor seals, red pandas, and many other animals. Finally, we found the Penguin House, and we were able to visit the once-home of our favorite penguins: Silo, Roy, and yes, especially Tango!

AND TANGO MAKES THREE will always be one of the most cherished books in our free library. It is a wonderful story about love based on true events that occurred in the Central Park Zoo. If you would like to request a copy of this book for your classroom, you can do so here. You can also listen to a free virtual read aloud and download an accompanying classroom activity.

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