Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel

Tikki Tikki Tembo (original 1968; edition 2007)

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

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,165823,001 (4.11)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

Work details

Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel (1968)


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 21 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 82 (next | show all)
Funny and interesting story. Beautiful illustrations in the Chinese style. Would recommend researching how to pronounce the names correctly before reading aloud to students. 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 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 82 (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
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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."
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

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)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
1 avail.
204 wanted
1 pay5 pay

Popular covers


Average: (4.11)
1 1
1.5 1
2 15
2.5 4
3 40
3.5 5
4 90
4.5 5
5 112


An edition of this book was published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 95,080,518 books! | Top bar: Always visible