Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Tikki Tikki Tembo
Tikki Tikki Tembo
by Arlene Mosel and illustrated by Blair Lent
This story is about a mother and her two sons in China. She names her first son Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo, which means “the most wonderful thing in the whold wide world.” And she named her second son Chang, which means “little or nothing.” She did this because in China it was a tradition to name your first son a great and long name, and second sons were given an meaningless name. Every day the two sons went with their mother to the stream where she washed clothes. There was a well and their mother always warned them not to go near it. They didn’t listen to their mother and Chang fell into the well. Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo ran back to his mother and told her what happened. She told him to go get the old man with the ladder. So the old man with the ladder gets Chang out. The boys didn’t go back to the well for a while, but when they did go again Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo fell into the well. Chang ran back to his mother to tell her but his brother’s name is so long he cannot say it because he is out of breath. When he finally got it out, he had to go get the old man with the ladder and he had to try and say the name again. The old man got Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo out of the well finally, but it took him a long time to recover because he had been in the well so long. Since then, the Chinese always give their children short names instead of long ones. I think this is a great story that little kids love especially. I would use it in the classroom to read my students a story about a different culture. Also, it would be a way to get them to read with me because they would catch on to the long name and chant it with me.