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Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel

Tikki Tikki Tembo (original 1968; edition 2007)

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

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2,163843,004 (4.12)21
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
Tags:First Name, traditions, culture

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Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel (1968)


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Showing 1-5 of 84 (next | show all)
This book is a Chinese folktale that has been retold. The boy in the book has an extremely long name which is difficult to pronouns. It has good rhythm and repetition. It sort of implies that the second born child isn’t as loved as the first born, which isn’t the best message to be sending to kids.
  Samantha_Orawiec | Feb 15, 2015 |
Short story about why Chinese families give their children short names. A story about two brothers that fall into a well and that need to be saved. Chang, the younger brother, has to run around and try to find people to save his brother with an incredibly long name. His name is so long and Chang has to repeat it so many times that his older brother almost dies in the well. But finally Tikki tikki tembo no sa rembo chari bari ruchi pip bari pembo was saved out of the well. I would read this in my classroom to show my students the use of repetition as humor, or if we were learning about myths from other countries. Genre: myth, folktale, ( )
  amassingale | Feb 3, 2015 |
In this book, two brothers, the elder with an incredibly long and honorable name and the younger with a short name, get into some trouble and each falls into the well. Depending on the child, help came faster or slower, teaching them that function is a little more important. This folktale was a funny and interesting story. I love the beautiful illustrations in the Chinese style. I would recommend researching how to pronounce the names correctly before reading aloud to students. It would be good for discussion on respect of elders in Chinese societies. ( )
  AmandaLK | Jan 23, 2015 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 84 (next | show all)
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.
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)

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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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