Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Tikki Tikki Tembo” as Want to Read:
Tikki Tikki Tembo
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Tikki Tikki Tembo

4.21  ·  Rating Details  ·  45,770 Ratings  ·  694 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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jan 10, 2010 Yuli rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-stories
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
Oct 30, 2012 Irene rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 21, 2015 Kristy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids-books, n-s-core
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
Aug 29, 2011 Nancy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids
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
Jun 25, 2013 midnightfaerie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
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
Mar 21, 2016 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jacob, ellie, mom, dad
The kids loved memorizing the boys name. This was a favorite of Jacob's. Will need to pull this one out again :)..krb 2/23/16

Ellie read for naptime..krb 3/17/16
Nov 19, 2015 Juli19 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a story about a Chinese family. The mother had two children and named the older son with a very long name and the younger son with a short name because that was the custom in the ancient china. One day the younger son fell into a well that was close to a river that the mother used to go. The older boy ran to her mother and told her that his brother had fallen into the well. The mother got scared and told the boy to go look for the old man with the ladder to get the boy out of the well. T ...more
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
May 14, 2009 Inspired Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 02, 2016 F. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

Even though I liked it as a child, the racism (I am a first generation American and was tuned in to such things even when young) bothered me.

Now it turns out that not only is it not really cute to poke fun at little Chinese customs, they didn't even have that custom and the names don't mean what the author says they did and the costumes are wrong. (I had my doubts that the title one meant "most wonderful..." even when I was young enough to be read to.

Also there is that little annoyance th
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
Sep 24, 2011 u1124876 UEL rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 08, 2011 Nicole Thompson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 23, 2012 Joy Colclasure rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: multicultural
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
Sarah Wurster
Two boys live with their mother near an old well. The eldest is considered the more important of the two, and his is the extraordinarily long name. His younger brother is named Chang. Chang and Tikki love one another, and when Chang falls into the well his brother rushes off to save him. Tikki fetches the old man with the ladder, who rescues the sodden boy. Later the boys play around the well again and this time it's Tikki who has fallen in. When Chang attempts to tell his mother what has happen ...more
Rachael Thom
Dec 17, 2015 Rachael Thom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
Summarize the book:
This book is about two brothers. The older brother has a REALLY long name because in Chinese culture that meant he was most important. The younger brother has a really short name. The boy’s play near a well and once when the younger boy fell in, he received help right away because his name was easy to say. When the older boy fell in the well, it was harder for him to receive help because it took longer for the younger boy to say his name and tell what happened. This is an old
Sarah Zablotney
Title: Tikki Tikki Tembo
Author: Arlene Mosel
Illustrator: Blair Lent
Genre: Non-European Folktale
Theme(s): Hope, Escape, Family
Opening line/sentence: “Once upon a time, a long, long time ago. “
Brief Book Summary: It was a custom in China that the first born son had a very long name. Tikki Tikki Tembo and his brother always play by the well, one day his brother fell in and they were able to get him out quickly. The next time they went to the well Tikki Tikki Tembo fell into the well and he was in
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
Jun 01, 2015 Sarina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Gabrielle Pulito
Title: italicize Tikki Tikki Tembo
Author: Retold by Arlene Mosel
Illustrator: Blair Lent
Genre: Non-European Folktale
Theme(s): Chinese Culture
Opening line/sentence: Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, it was the custom of all fathers and mothers in China to give their first and honored sons great long names.
Brief Book Summary: Based on Chinese culture the oldest boy was given an honored long name and the second son was given a short and less significant name. When the second son fell in th
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.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Tikki Tikki Tembo 8 62 Oct 15, 2012 01:11PM  
Irony 2 15 Sep 16, 2012 06:31PM  
  • The Five Chinese Brothers
  • Strega Nona
  • The Big Orange Splot
  • The Empty Pot
  • Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale
  • Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears
  • Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
  • The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash
  • Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti
  • Chicken Soup with Rice: A Book of Months
  • Blueberries for Sal
  • Whistle for Willie
  • The Seven Silly Eaters
  • Bread and Jam for Frances
  • Stone Soup
  • Ox-Cart Man
  • Imogene's Antlers
  • Miss Rumphius
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...

Share This Book