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Tikki Tikki Tembo Paperback – March 29, 2007

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Editorial Reviews Review

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) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

In this folktale, help is slow in coming when a Chinese boy falls into a well, since the boy's long and difficult name must be pronounced in full. Beautifully expressive drawings enhance the book's Oriental feel. Ages 4-7.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1090L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Square Fish; Reprint edition (April 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312367481
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312367480
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (513 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,297 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 85 people found the following review helpful By X. Libris on May 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
Tikki Tikki Tembo is a perpetual favorite read-aloud book in our elementary school library and works well all the way up to third or fourth grade. Today I got it out to read to a first grade class that incidentally had heard it yesterday from their classroom teacher. After I offered to read something else by the same author, they begged me to read Tikki Tikki Tembo to them again. Students love to chant Tikki's long name each time they hear it.
Whether or not this is an authentic Chinese folktale, it is a humorous attention-getter that still has a good moral to it. It does provide an opportunity to point out how Chinese names are usually shorter than Japanese names, something most kids in our school would not be aware of.
What amazes me is that in this age of fancy graphics students still are drawn to these simple illustrations.
A recommended read-aloud!
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58 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Dwain Preston on November 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
"Tikki" is over thirty years old, and still going strong. I am a storyteller, and I love to retell the story of the little boy with the outlandishly long name (giving full credit to Arlene Mosel, of course!). Having learned Chinese, and spent some time in China, I do not try to pass it off as an authentic Chinese folktale. Mosel wrote it to have fun, and those of us who read and tell the story must do it in the same vein. Knowing that I am an old man and that my mental faculties may be fading a bit, my granddaughter, upon hearing me tell it for the first time, asked, "Grandpa, how long did it take you to learn to say that name?" I told her several days of practice (not mentioning that a class of first graders could probably do it in two tries!). Three cheers for Arlene Mosel! God willing, the electronic world will not have completely eradicated the printed word, and Tikki Tikki Tembo will be still be around at the turn of the next millenium!
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Darren on October 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
After recently finding a copy of this childhood treasure in my attic, I was reminded of how much I loved having this story read to me as a child.

This book was read to me over 30 years ago. Ironically, I was even able to recite Tikki's entire full name without having to peer inside the book. Talk about lasting impressions!

This is a great classic for parents to read to their young children and there is something very warm and appealing about about the story, and the simple illustrations that will captivate your child's heart.

It's refreshing to see that this enjoyable book is still available and being read to children.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on May 11, 2004
Format: Hardcover
If you, like my pretty self, grew up reading (or being read) the tale of Tikki Tikki Tembo, then you already know exactly the correct cadences and tones to use when pronouncing his name. Come on, everybody! Say it along with me... Tikki Tikki Tembo-No Sa Rembo-Chari Bari Ruchi-Pip Peri Pembo. Whew! It's a mouthful, which is of course the point. In this book (originally published, I kid you not, in 1968) we learn about the dangers of over-monikering one's own offspring.
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 (not the same day, thankfully) 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 happened, it's all he can do to spout out that enormous mouthful of a name. When his mother finally understands, he too is sent to the old man with the ladder and a very similar scene occurs. In the end Tikki is rescued, though his prolonged well-exposure leaves him sick for a little while. Hence (according to this tale and, yes yes, not historically accurate in the least), "the Chinese have always thought it wise to give all their children little, short names instead of great long names".
When I was read this book as a kid I remember disliking small sections of it (whilst enjoying the entire thing as a whole). I felt bad for Chang, a boy whose name translated roughly to "little or nothing". Yet Chang and Tikki don't engage in any sibling rivalry or bad feelings.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
I used this book in my second grade classroom , and my students absolutely loved it. We made a collaborative class book, where each child created their own long, crazy name and had to tell what it meant. Then they illustrated it. It was an excellent activity where the children were reading, writing, and creating all at once!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Pam on August 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
I loved this book as a child, my sister and I would go around saying the tongue twister name over and over! We would try and out do each other by who could say it the fastest. Now she is adopting a beautiful daughter from China and I thought this is the perfect book for my new neice. She will be able to enjoy this fun story of two brothers who not only play well together but help each other when one is in trouble, like falling into a well. It teaches children that even if they are not the first born they are just as special.
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