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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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2,5371152,378 (4.1)22
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 enjoyed this book very much for both the language throughout and also the plot of the book itself. The language that the story was written in was very lighthearted and funny, making this a very enjoyable book for children to read. For example, the little boy's name of "Tikki Tikki Tembo- no sa rembo- chari bari ruchi- pip peri pembo" was repeated a lot throughout the book, but gave it a fun element when reading since it was such a long, unique, and silly name. I also enjoyed the plot of the story because it helped give meaning behind the Chinese traditions of name giving and why they were stopped. In the story when the little boy Chang fell down the well, it was easy for him to be saved since his name was so short. However, when Tikki TIkki Tembo fell down the well, his name was so long to say that it took much longer to save him. This is a fun way to make the Chinese tradition come to life and understandable to children on a level they may better understand. The overall message of this book is that everyone is important, no matter what the name they are given. ( )
  cdovel1 | Oct 2, 2016 |
3.5 stars ( )
  JennysBookBag.com | Sep 28, 2016 |
This book is folktale about a Chinese family. It was tradition to name the first born son with great long names. The second sons were given short names. In this story a pair of brothers, Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi pip peri pembo and Chang, are involved in situations that have them to use their siblings name. In the first, Chang falls into a well. Tikki is able to run to his mother, then to the fisher man and get a ladder and save his brother. However, after a while Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi pip peri pembo falls into the well, his brother runs to save him. He gets to his mother and has to say his full name but after he does his mother still cant hear it all. So he says it again, and again. Finally his mother understands and sends him on his way to the fisherman. He gets to the fisherman and says "Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi pip peri pembo has fallen into the well" but the fisherman cant understand. So he says quickly "my brother" has fallen into the well, the fisherman gets what he is saying and runs to the well with the ladder. Since it took so long Chang's brother is not so quickly healed. This is the reason Chinese families always give all their children short names instead of great long names.

Person reaction:

I love this book. I loved it when I was in elementary school, many years ago, and I love it now. This book takes the folktale for naming children and turns it in to a fun catchy book for children.

Class Extension Ideas:
1. We can learn about Chinese culture.
2. We can learn about the country of China
3. I can bring in traditional Chinese clothing and shoes and the students can try it on. ( )
  Amahoney1114 | Sep 12, 2016 |
This is one of my favorite stories. I enjoy hearing the folktales of another culture. I also think my favorite part of this book is Tikki Tikki Tembos name. ( )
  NaomiJohnston | Sep 12, 2016 |
Tikki Tikki Tembo follows the misadventures of two brothers, one who is the most wonderful thing in the world and one whose name means nothing. Throughout the story, children will discover why listening to parents is important and also why having a super long special name may not be as wonderful as it seems. ( )
  lmguest | Sep 7, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 115 (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.

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added by MarthaJeanne | 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 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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