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Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel
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Tikki Tikki Tembo (original 1968; edition 2007)

by Arlene Mosel, Blair Lent (Illustrator), Arlene Mosel (Author)

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2,150813,029 (4.11)21
Member:kylak
Title:Tikki Tikki Tembo
Authors:Arlene Mosel
Other authors:Blair Lent (Illustrator), Arlene Mosel (Author)
Info:Square Fish (2007), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 48 pages
Collections:fantasy, fiction, picture books
Rating:**
Tags:First Name, traditions, culture

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Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel (1968)

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Summary: "Tikki Tikki Tembo" is a old Chinese folktale about two Chinese brothers who go against their mother's word. The boys' mother warns them of a well that will swallow them if they choose to go down it. The younger brother, Chang, is the first to fall into the well during play time. The older brother (Tikki Tikki Tembo) runs to tell their mother, who tells him to find the Old Man with the ladder. The younger brother, Chang, is finally saved. Not too long after however, the older brother falls into the well. The younger brother tries at first to tell his mother but is unable to speak his older brother's long name. He finally does, and runs to the Old Man who reluctantly lends the ladder out. The moral of the story is that the Chinese have short names because of this incident.

Review: I really liked reading this Chinese folktale. It speaks a few different messages that can be picked up by the reader. The first, is that you should never go against your mother's word. The two brothers do this and fall victim to the well. Chang is able to be saved quickly, but Tikki Tikki Tembo is not. Chang is barely able to get out his older brother's name and thus there is much time before he is saved. The message here is that the Chinese all have short names. This would be a great addition to my library collection, especially during a multicultural lesson. ( )
  cclark37 | Dec 9, 2014 |
I had mixed feelings about this book. It is based in rural China, and is a myth about a boy who almost drowns in a well because his brother cannot pronounce his name to ask for help. I don't think it is a great representation of Chinese culture, but the story is intriguing and the pictures are very unique. ( )
  tburfe1 | Dec 3, 2014 |
This is one of my favorites from when I was a child. I do a “Me Box” in the beginning of the year with my students and I fill a box with objects that describe me. This is always the book inside. My students beg me to read it many times throughout the year. It is a sweet story of two brothers in China, the first born having a long name because he is most honorable, and the second having a very short name because he is not as important as the first born son. The boys soon find out, that it is not always the best or safest thing to have a very long name, and by story’s end, we discover why the Chinese do not name their first born sons with extremely long names anymore. It is a fun book, that your children will begin to chant along with. ( )
  Taranto | Dec 2, 2014 |
A favorite from my childhood. I can still recite, Tikki Tikki Tembo's long name and can recall my sister's enthusiasm as she read this to me often at bedtime. A nice story of relationship between two brothers and the dynamics within a family and a culture. A memorable read. ( )
  lolhscybrarian | Nov 30, 2014 |
Collections
Picture book
Grade 1-4
Traditional literature
Tikki Tikki Tembo is an amusing piece of literature that does a good job of depicting the preference for first-born children in China. Since Tikki Tikki Tembo was the first born and favorite son he got the very ong honorable name Tikki Tikki Tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo. The second born son was named a much shorter and less honorable name, Chang. In the story both children fall into a well and are rescued. However, since Chang had such a shorter name it took less time to communicate that he had fallen. When Tikki Tikki Tembo fell into the well it took so long for Chang to tell his mother that Tikki Tikki Tembo almost drowned and took days for him to recover. In the end it turned out that Tikki Tikki Tembo's very long and honorable name almost cost him his life. The story ends by discussing Chinese tradition. On the last page the story says "And from that day to this the Chinese have always thought it wise to give all their children little, short names instead of great longs names." This story was enjoyable and I would recommend it to children of many ages. I especially like how the book created a story of why something came to be; why the Chinese use short names. ( )
  danielleshorr | Oct 13, 2014 |
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I hope that people realize that "Tikki Tikki Tembo" contains very INCORRECT information about Chinese culture...What's even more disturbing is that the introduction written inside the book jacket made the story sound like a real folklore.

Below the review is a discussion of both the review and the book.
added by cej1027 | editChild_Lit, Shwu-yi Leu (Oct 2, 1998)
 

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Arlene Moselprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lent, BlairIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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First words
Once, upon a time, a long, long time ago, it was the custom of all the fathers and mothers in China to give their first and honored sons great long long names.
Quotations
Her second son she called Chang, which meant "little or nothing." But her first and honored son, she called Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo, which meant "the most wonderful thing in the whole wide world!"
"Unfortunate Son, surely the evil spirits have bewitched your tongue. Speak your brother's name with reverence."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312367481, Paperback)

If you haven't already read Tikki Tikki Tembo, you've probably heard at least someone recite the deliriously long name of its protagonist: Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo, by now a famous refrain in most nursery schools. In this beautiful edition--complete with line and wash illustrations by artist Blair Lent--Arlene Mosel retells an old Chinese folktale about how the people of China came to give their children short names after traditionally giving their "first and honored" sons grand, long names. Tikki tikki tembo (which means "the most wonderful thing in the whole wide world") and his brother Chang (which means "little or nothing") get into trouble with a well, are saved by the Old Man with the Ladder, and change history while they're at it. Tikki Tikki Tembo is a perfect book to read aloud, but don't be surprised if you find yourself joining the ranks of its chanting followers. (Picture book)

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:57:14 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

When the eldest son fell in the well and most of the time getting help was spent pronouncing the name of the one in trouble, the Chinese, according to legend, decided to give all their children short names.

(summary from another edition)

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