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Tikki Tikki Tembo

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  42,315 ratings  ·  656 reviews
Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo!

Three decades and more than one million copies later children still love hearing about the boy with the long name who fell down the well. Arlene Mosel and Blair Lent's classic re-creation of an ancient Chinese folktale has hooked legions of children, teachers, and parents, who return, generation after generation
Published September 15th 1989 by Henry Holt and Company (first published 1968)
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One thing that really bothers me is that the long name Tikki Tikki Tembo-no ...... doesn't mean "the most wonderful thing in the whole wide world" and also 'Chang' doesn't mean "little or nothing". In fact, the long name 'tikki tikki tembo-no .... ' is sound more Japanese than Chinese. As someone who understand Chinese & Japanese language, I feel it is very annoying to tell a wrong thing to the children. I actually confused them by teaching the wrong meanings of "Chang". While it's probably ...more
Since I have a rather perverse fascination with being a killjoy when it comes to cultural myths about the Chinese, I looked up something I've been meaning to find for a long time.

Of course I already knew that the name of the title character didn't sound Chinese at all. While I generally agree with the notion that the story doesn't accurately reflect historical Chinese culture, I still nonetheless like the the tale, especially the illustrations. There's thi
I always felt slightly uneasy about this story even when I was a child. So much so, that a few years ago I looked the book up to re-read it.

Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo reminded of the nonsense "Chinese" words kids would string together to mock me and the other Chinese kids in school. It's almost the equivalent of going up to a kid of Asian descent and chanting, "ching chong ching" --not necessarily racist but very ignorant.

I hope that these days there are fun, e
I actually first heart of this book on a Weston Woods video and I really enjoyed this story! “Tikki Tikki Tembo” is an old Chinese folktale retold by Arlene Mosel along with illustrations by Blair Lent and it is about how a young boy named Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruche-pip peri pembo (what a name!) gets into big trouble because of his long name. “Tikki Tikki Tembo” is certainly a great book for children who are fans of Chinese folklore!

I have always found this book extremely int
Jade Nguyen
1. Folktale/Fable

2. Two Chinese brothers, the first-born named Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo and the second born named Chang, both fall into a well at different points in the story. Chang is immediately saved by the old man, but it takes longer for Tikki Tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo to be saved and recover due to his long name.

3a. Area for comment: Accuracy ( - )

3b. The title, Tikki Tikki Tembo, does not accurately represent the ancient
This is a fun story to read aloud! The title Tikki Tikki Tembo is a shortening of a very long name that poses a problem for one of the characters in this book about two brothers.

We read it to our five-year-old after looking at some of Jim Trelease's suggestions in The Read-Aloud Handbook for "primary children who had not been read to" that were chosen for the purpose of lengthening children's listening attention spans. Books are a major part of the environment in our household and I think I can
I have very mixed feelings on this book.

I have very fond memories of this book from when I was a child. Our librarian at school used to read the story of brothers where Tiki's long name almost loses him his life after he is stuck in a well. It is supposed to be a traditional story about how Chinese names came to be so short. I loved this story as a kid.

However, the truth is, as an adult I recognize it sounds a lot more Japanese than Chinese. Also the pictures are a lot more Japanese than Chines
Tessa Ann
When I was younger I had read this book and enjoyed it, so when I had saw it at the book store the other day I wanted to read it to remember why I enjoyed it so much. After reading it I came to realize why I had enjoyed it so much. I really enjoyed his name Tikki tikki tembo no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo, yes it was very long but i looked forward to saying it over and ver again. I think that children would love this book because it rhymes and what kid doesn't like to rhyme? You can ...more
As a child, I loved this story and my poor mother to read it every night for who knows how long. I remembered it so fondly I couldn't wait to read it to my children. The song songy name of the child is much longer than the title and so fun to say when you're a kid. I was horrified to finally find the book at my mothers and read it to my 4 year old. The nostalgia and childhood niavete masked the awfulness of this story about a mother who only cares for one child, her firstborn. The lesson is rein ...more
I love this story. I love the repetition. I love the rhythm of the repeated name. It's funny. But it doesn't feel at all Chinese. It feels condescending--those funny Asians with their nonsense language.

When a teacher I taught with included this and several other stories "about China" in a unit on China, I had to squirm. I had just returned from living in China and wanted to give the kids a feeling for actaul Chinese folktales

Tiki Tiki Tembo is probably based on a Japanese story in which the dad
We really enjoyed this one as a family. My 5 yr old remembered when we were studying China and loved the pictures, especially of the one with the dragon. It was a little wordy to be less than a level 3, but as I read it, even the preschoolers seemed fascinated. It was probably the repetition of Tikki Tikki Tembo's name over and over again. I stumbled over it more than once, but it has a wonderful rhythm to it. (It'd be great for a drinking game - not with children of course.) :)
Overall, a nice c
Laura Brenneisen
Title: Tikki Tikki Tembo By: Arlene Mosel Copyright: 2007 Number of Pages: 48 Lit Require: Traditional Literature # 2

It was a tradition in the Chinese culture to name the first son with a long and meaningful name and the second one with a short and not so meaningful name. Tikki Tikki Tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo, was the name of the first son, Chang was the name of the second son. There was a well that their mother had told them to not go near because they will fall in, sure
Clever and funny myth book concerning birth order and the benefit of short names. So it's not really a Chinese legend or using Chinese names. And it almost certainly adds to misconceptions. It's still a cute story with nice art.
Inspired Kathy
Not a real chinese folktale but still a fun book to read. Gotta love trying to say the entire name...Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo.
Missy Kutyla
Sarah, Thanks for bringing back fun memories. This became one of my favorite read-alouds in my student teaching days based on how my third-grade students responded to this literature. I did a section on international festivals and symbolisms in other cultures for social studies and made informational animals/dragon symbolism posters to hang in the room. I had this incredibly long name on the board with some words covered to see who was familiar with the story and build anticipation. Some kids wo ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Jaglvr for Kids @

You know you have a classic on your hands when your son sees the book you're showing him and goes, "I LOVE that book! We read it in library class!" So already, I had the battle half won when I told my two kids that I received the book and CD to review. As soon as we got in the car to drive to grandma's house, they asked me to put the CD in and leaned together in the back seat with the book open between them.

MacMillan Audio has taken a classic that is
Alexa Maring
I used to LOVE this book as a child! The character's name brought such rhythm to the story, it was almost intoxicating to say. Children love to say the name! In a read aloud, let them insert his name, rather than reading it on your own. Let them be a part of the story! As many children's story share, the moral of this story is to listen when you are told something. Not listening to his mother wound little Chang at the bottom of a well! Not learning their lesson the first time, Tikki tikki tembo- ...more
u1124876 UEL
This is tale of young Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo, who is the first born son, and his little brother called Chang! The long name means 'the most wonderful thing in the whole wide world' and his little brother’s name means 'little or nothing'.

I can imagine having a lot fun reading this with a class of lower KS1 children and possibly role playing Tikki Tikki Tembo falling down the well and Chang rushing, with his little legs, to tell Mother. I would need excellen
Nicole Thompson
When I was younger I absolutely loved reading this book. I found it on a website listing social issue books, and decided to read it again. this book definitely contains social issues, those of the chinese culture and how it can effect its children. This book is about a boy named Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo. His name is so long because he is the first born son in his family. His younger brother grows to strongly dislike his own very short name because it doesn't ...more
Joy Colclasure
This book is a great Chinese folktale. I loved the story line. This is also a good book to review alliteration. The illustrations are so detailed and really showed the Chinese culture as far as clothes, the houses, and the festivals. This is a fun book to get your children to join in saying Tikki, Tikki, Tembo's full name. I will add this to my list of must reads especially when we celebrate Chinese new year in my class.

Extension Activity: After reading this book I will retell this folktale with
Caitlin O'Connor
Tikki-Tikki Tembo is a story about to brothers, one is named Tikki-tikki-tembo-no-rambo-chari-bari-ruchi-pip-peri-pembo which means “the most wonderful thing in the whole wide world” and his brother is named Chang which means “little or nothing”. The story proceeds that the two boys are told by their mother not to play by the water well, but after the boys disobey their mother and play by the well Chang falls into the well by accident and Tikki-Tikki is able to go get help and save him; but late ...more
Tikki Tikki Tembo (short for Tikki Tikki Tembo No Sarimbo Hari Kari Bushkie Perry Pem Do Hai Kai Pom Pom Nikki No Meeno Dom Barako) is a boy who lives in China with his brother Sam. Like any child would do, the two brothers began playing by a well. First, Sam falls into the well. After some fuss, the gardener comes to save Sam from drowning. As if one child falling into a well wasn't hectic enough, Tikki Tikki Tembo No Sarimbo Hari Kari Bushkie Perry Pem Do Hai Kai Pom Pom Nikki No Meeno Dom Bar ...more
This is cute and funny book where we are given a little bit of a vision on Chinese culture. It is about a boy with a really long name who falls in a well. It is connected to an old Chinese myth about why Chinese people have short names. I found it interesting to find out and see pictures about this culture.
Brenda Cregor
The most delightful thing about this book is that the title bears the rather fun name of the 1st and honorable son of a rather jacked up mother character.

Because of a Chinese tradition, this mother names her first son a great long name and treats him with obvious love and preference...

Tikki Tikki Tembo-no-saw-rembo-charry-barry-roochie-pit-perry-rembo= The most wonderful thing in the world

while she gives her second unfortunate son a short name...

Chong=Little, or Nothing...

and treats him with der
I remember loving this book as a child and now my boys love it, too. We've had it from the library for 3 days, and it's been read no less than a dozen times. We love everything about it: the intricate artwork, the brother relationship, the pace of the language, the super long name.

I wish only that it was an accurate portrayal of a Chinese folktale. A little internet research has quickly revealed that it isn't so.
Originally published in 1968, Tikki Tikki Tembo has continued to rank in polls as one of the top 100 best/favorite children's books well into the twenty-tens. The book is presented as a retelling of a Chinese folktale explaining why families give their children short names.

The book's layout makes wonderful use of space, contrast, and ukiyo-e style art, making it visually appealing, memorable, and easy to follow along. The text is wordy (and not just the eldest son's name) and on the smaller side
Sara Graffis
Tikki Tikki Tembo is one of the books from my childhood that brings back so many good memories! I remember my brother and I sitting with my mom reading this book over and over again and every time we would get to the Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo part, my brother and I would both join in chanting it with her as she read. To this day, I have not forgotten how it goes and how much I enjoyed reading it with them. Even my nephew now (who is 4 years old) knows by heart ...more
I first heard this read in the library at our elementary school. Then I heard the recorded version and I loved it. I remember going home and telling my mom the whole story. That year in school I checked it out over and over and over again, until the librarian made me pick a different book. I recently found this in a box and it made my heart happy.
Jul 12, 2008 Dolly rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with kids
We love this story! It's so fun to read aloud and we also enjoyed listening to this read aloud on a CD in the car. It's a folktale with gorgeous and funny illustrations and a story that is a tongue-twister to read aloud. Our girls love saying the number one precious son's name aloud...over and over and over again. We've read this book several times.
Danielle Vasquez
I absolutely loved this book about the boy that fell in the well! Not only did I like it just because the story line was entertaining to read and the are work was fun, but also because of the repetition that happened throughout the story. At the end, all can say his name without even reading and that makes for a fun and engaging children's book that many will enjoy.

Along with those factors that made the tale fun to read, what I also loved about the book was the message that even though you may
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Arlene Tichy Mosel was a American author of children's literature who was best-known for her illustrated books Tikki Tikki Tembo, a retelling of a Chinese folk tale, and the award-winning The Funny Little Woman, which was the recipient of the Caldecott Medal for illustration in 1973.

She was born as Arlene Tichy on August 27, 1921, in Cleveland, Ohio to Edward J. Tichy, an engraver and Marie Fingul
More about Arlene Mosel...
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