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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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2,026None3,286 (4.09)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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I really enjoyed this book as a child, though reading it again and reading several other reviews, it is actually rather racist. The author says it is a retelling of a Chinese folktale, but Tikki Tikki Tembo's exhaustively long name doesn't actually mean anything in Chinese and instead plays off of how funny the Chinese language sounds to Westerners. It is a very cute story, but seeing as the setting is Ancient China yet the language is inaccurate, the setting puts children off and gives them an inaccurate idea of China and its people. Arlene Mosel is an inauthentic author as well, as she is from Ohio and is of no Asian descent. It would be much more beneficial to students to use actual Chinese folktales that celebrate Chinese culture. ( )
  Lara.Lofdahl | Apr 1, 2014 |
This story would definitely be fun to read aloud to a class, and also be fun for new readers! This book would be appropriate from kindergarten to second grade. I like this book because I can absolutely see children laugh and be engaged with this story. It also exposes the Chinese culture and art throughout the story, making it extra engaging. The little Tikki Tikki Tembo-No Sa Rembo-Chari Bari Ruchi-Pip Peri Pembo thought highly of himself for having such a long and prestigious name compared to his brother, Chang. Change fell in the well, and his brother was able to quickly get help from the Old Man with the ladder. However, when Tikki fell into the well, his brother had to take extra time explaining what happened and who needed the Old Man's help. The moral of the story is that sometimes having an important title can get you into trouble! ( )
  BeckieZimmerman | Mar 12, 2014 |
I absolutely love this book. I think it is so silly and fun. Kids love hearing it. The artwork rings true to the Chinese culture and is beautifully done. It fits in so many different themed areas and can be connected to multiple different areas in the classroom.
  ChelseaLawler | Mar 6, 2014 |
This is my all time favorite children's book. My grandmother would read this to me all the time, I can still recite it to this day. This would be great to share with students to show my passion and love for the story, and also a great way to discuss different cultures.
  MaBock | Mar 3, 2014 |
I really enjoyed reading this book. The main message was to teach the students how people in china came to give their children shorter names. One reason I liked this book was because of the main characters name. When I was in elementary school and my teacher read this to the class, it was a game among the children to see who could memorize "Tikki Tikki Tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo" and say it along with the teacher while she was reading. The second reason I liked this book was because of how the brothers took care of each other. Even though the second brothers name was Chang, which meant "little or nothing", he still ran all over the place trying to save his brother who had fallen in the well. When I first read the book, I was scared that he would leave him in there because Tikki was clearly their mother's favorite son, but his love for his brother prevailed and they ended up saving each other. ( )
  jperro2 | Feb 28, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 70 (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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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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