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Tikki Tikki Tembo - A Review



Tikki Tikki Tembo written by Arlene Mosel is story based on Chinese folk lore. It is an all-time favourite, read-aloud book, for children of the age group 3 to 9. The book is beautifully illustrated by Blair Lent. This story has been read to children since 1967.


About the Author

The late Arlene Mosel first heard the story of Tikki Tikki Tembo as a child. She shared this wonderful tale with countless children, including her own, when she grew up. The wonderful response that she received from all her listeners prompted her to pen down the story. Tikki Tikki Tembo was her first book for children.

The illustrations by Blair Lent are exceptional. They are a combination of true Chinese spirit and imaginative beauty.

Synopsis of the story

"Tikki Tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo is the full name of the firstborn son in a Chinese family. As the firstborn, his name must be spoken completely and reverently. Tikki Tikki Tembo has a younger brother called Chang. The two boys live with their mother near an old well. The eldest is considered the more important of the two.

Chang and Tikki love one another. One day as the boys are playing around the well, Tikki falls in. Chang rushes to his mother to tell her what happened. It takes Chang a long time to spurt out the enormous mouthful of a name of his brother. By the time his mother finally understands, time lapses. Tikki is saved by an old man, though his prolonged well-exposure leaves him sick for a little while. Hence the Chinese have always thought it wise to give all their children little, short names instead of great long names.

Theme of the story

The story puts across the message that every one is important. The story starts off with the first born son Tikki being all important, while Chang the second son is cast to a side. However, in the end Chang is the hero and both children are important and loved.

Awards received by the book

« American Library Association Notable Children's Books

« Boston Globe - Horn Book Award

The book is excellent read-aloud is brilliant, dynamic, and delightfully expressive. "Tikki" is over thirty years old and still going strong! Don’t miss!!!!!!!!!!!

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