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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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2,141773,055 (4.1)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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Picture book
Grade 1-4
Traditional literature
Tikki Tikki Tembo is an amusing piece of literature that does a good job of depicting the preference for first-born children in China. Since Tikki Tikki Tembo was the first born and favorite son he got the very ong honorable name Tikki Tikki Tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo. The second born son was named a much shorter and less honorable name, Chang. In the story both children fall into a well and are rescued. However, since Chang had such a shorter name it took less time to communicate that he had fallen. When Tikki Tikki Tembo fell into the well it took so long for Chang to tell his mother that Tikki Tikki Tembo almost drowned and took days for him to recover. In the end it turned out that Tikki Tikki Tembo's very long and honorable name almost cost him his life. The story ends by discussing Chinese tradition. On the last page the story says "And from that day to this the Chinese have always thought it wise to give all their children little, short names instead of great longs names." This story was enjoyable and I would recommend it to children of many ages. I especially like how the book created a story of why something came to be; why the Chinese use short names. ( )
  danielleshorr | Oct 13, 2014 |
In my opinion, Tikki Tikki Tembo is a decent book. One reason I enjoyed this book is because of the main characters name. When I was little, my mother would read the story to me and my older brother. I remember struggling to pronounce the long name of the main character “Tikki Tikki Tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo.” The main reason I liked this book was how the author depicted the relationship between the two brothers. The brothers take care of each other even if the younger brother is jealous of his older brother. The younger brother is named Chang, which meant “little nothing.” The book was a helpful tool in teaching kindness to me when I was little. Even though Chang had a shorter name he still found a ladder in order to get Tiki out of the well. The illustrations also add a vivid historical touch, depicting life in rural China. The main message of the story is to show how family is important. ( )
  dbaker16 | Oct 9, 2014 |
I liked this book because of the interesting aspect mentioned at the ending of the book. Initially, the author mentions how long names were given to the older children because they were honored and highly valued and short names were given to the younger children because they meant "little to nothing." I liked the language used in this book because of the repetitive pattern. At first, Tikki tikki tembo had to save Chang and he quickly did but when Chang had to save Tikki tikki tembo it was more of a struggle. Because of the initial way that the author described how Chang fell in the well made it seem like Tikki tikki tembo would be quickly saved also. I also enjoyed the organization of the story. As previously mentioned, the author made the wording almost identical with different names. This conspicuously implied that Tikki tikki tembo would have a safe rescue nevertheless Chang had difficultly saying his brother's name over and over again. Every time Chang mustered up the breath to say Tikki tikki tembo's full name, I wondered if he would be able to get it out right and essentially receive help. The big message of the story comes at the end when the readers are reminded of the first-born having long names and now realizing that it is more wise to give your children short names. ( )
  nkwak1 | Sep 18, 2014 |
I really enjoyed this book and I liked the themes involved.
  niccory | Sep 10, 2014 |
I think this book is kinda silly which makes it fun for all readers but especially for those hesitant readers. The art is also beautiful giving you a small glimpse into traditional chineese culture.
  abigail.shafer | Aug 14, 2014 |
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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 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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