Monday, October 11, 2010

Tikki Tikki Tembo

Have you read Tikki Tikki Tembo yet?  I haven't read it to a child thus far (and I've read it to many ~ it's a babysitter's standby) who didn't want it read to them regularly.  Is it the rhythm of the text or the universality of this Chinese story that kids most love?

Tikki Tikki Tembo retold by Arlene Mosel and illustrated by Blair Lent tells of two young brothers facing the consequence of their traditional birth-ordered name lengths when they disregard their mother's warnings to stay away from the local well.  Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo is the first born son, and Chang is the second born son.  The fable explains why "the Chinese have always thought it wise to give all their children little, short names instead of great long names."  Whether it's the folktale or the ink-and-wash drawings that make this book unforgettable will be for you, reader, to answer.

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