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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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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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This is a picture book, but also qualifies as traditional literature. For that reason, I believe it would be a good fit for middle and high-school libraries as well as elementaries because it could be used in the study of culture in a World Geography or History class, or a study of traditional literature in an English class.
  Jquimbey | Jul 22, 2015 |
Summary: The story of two brothers, one with the name of Tikki Tikki Tembo. The story is a retold Japanese folktale that explains the orientation of Japanese name lengths. The folktale says that Tikki Tikki Tembo almost drowned in the well because he had a long name and his brother did not. Both the brothers get saved from the well by The Old Man on the Ladder and learn about the origins of their names.

Personal reflection: I liked this book because it was a folktale and I personally love folktales. You also learn information about the Japan culture and the names and stories from their culture. I don't exactly know how useful this book would be in the class room, but the illustrations were really beautiful and the story was fun to read.

Class use: I would use this book in a text set on folktales and I would use it in social studies to open discussion on names from different countries. I would also ask students to write about their own names and the significance behind them.
  MelissaKlatt | Apr 28, 2015 |
Tikki Tikki Tembo is a story of an old Chinese folktale. It was a custom for father and mothers in China to give their first and honored sons a great long name, but seconds sons were given hardly a name at all. A mother lived on a small mountain with her two sons. Her first son was named Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo, which meant "the most wonderful thing in the world, and her second son was named Chang. Chang and Tikki tikki tembo loved playing near the well, but their mother always said to be careful or they could fall in. One day Chang fell in and Tikki tikki tembo ran to his mother to help him. They got the old man with the ladder to get him out and he took no time to recover. Months later, Tikki tikki tembo fell in. Chang ran to his mother to explain what happened, but his brother's name was so long, he could barely get it out. His mother said to go find the old man with the ladder. He found the old man, but he had the same problem, his brother's name was so long that he could barely get it out. They finally got Tikki tikki tembo out of the well, but it took him days to reccover. To this day, the Chinese have thought it wise to give all of their children short names, instead of great long ones. As an activity, each student could write out their own name as if they were Tikki tikki tembo, and for that day, each student would go by their long name. ( )
  EmilyDrennan | Apr 26, 2015 |
This legend is about why Chinese people always give their children short names. This legend describes two brothers that both fall into a well and need to be saved. When the older brother, named Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo falls into the well, Chang has to run all around town asking for help and it takes him so long that his older brother nearly dies because he can not move quickly enough. This book explains why Chinese people use short names with their children. ( )
  sommerkirk | Apr 21, 2015 |
I really enjoyed this book for many reasons. The main reason is that it explains a cultural characteristic in a humorous way. Tiki Tiki Tembo’s full name is obnoxiously long and it takes the characters a decent amount of time to say his entire name. When Tiki Tiki Tembo falls down a well, his brother struggles to get help because he is too out of breath to say his entire name. This struggle eventually leads to the Chinese to no longer give their children long names. This story also has a few moral lessons to it. The two brothers in the story do not listen to their mother and both of them fall down the well. Their mother warned them that if they played near the well they would fall down it. This story had great illustrations to help aid in the telling of the story. You could see the mother being mad at her sons for not listening and could see how out of breath Tiki Tiki Tembo’s brother was after trying to say his name.
  akern3 | Mar 22, 2015 |
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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.
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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:03 -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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