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

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

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2,067723,210 (4.1)21
Member:kylak
Title:Tikki Tikki Tembo
Authors:Arlene Mosel
Other authors:Arlene Mosel (Author), Blair Lent (Illustrator)
Info:Square Fish (2007), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 48 pages
Collections:fantasy, fiction, picture books
Rating:**
Tags:First Name, traditions, culture

Work details

Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel (1968)

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» See also 21 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 72 (next | show all)
This book is essentially an origin myth about why Chinese names are so short. In the book, a boy and his brother are playing when the brother falls in the well. As he is trying to rescue him, and must repeat his brothers very long name so many times, we discover at the end too much time has passed and his brother has died in the well. I remember this story quite vividly from my childhood, finding it quite entertaining to say the brother's full name, Tikki Tikki Tembo-no Sa Rembo-chari Bari Ruchi-pip Peri Pembo. I also taught this story to my first grade class as part of our Passport lessons from China. I told several different versions of the story and we discussed how the story changed as a result of verbal storytelling. As an extension exercise I had them draw a picture that depicted their favorite part in the story. We also talked about other stories we knew that changed as a result of verbal storytelling and the differences between those versions. Lastly we played a game of telephone to demonstrate how things can change between one telling and another ( )
  hellwanger | Jun 26, 2014 |
This book is a classic Chinese legend about a young boy who almost drowns in a well because his brother cannot pronounce his very long and difficult name. It is a silly and entertaining read aloud that you can pair with teaching students about how names in other cultures have certain definitions or meanings. Students of all ages will laugh out loud when the teacher says "Tikki Tikki Tembo No Sa Rembo Chari Bari Ruchi Pip Peri Pembo". The main message in the story is to give readers a slight insight into Chinese culture. The illustrations are also beautifully done and express true Chinese art. ( )
  jjones58 | May 11, 2014 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 72 (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.
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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