Blair is one of my favorite authors. This story is at the top of my list. I love the Georgie/Xan series, it is my favorite but Casmir is a close second. Her books are always a good read.
Title: Tikki Tikki Tembo
Author: Arlene Mosel
Artist: Blair Lent
Genre: China / Family / Drama / Parental Favoritism
Year Published: 1968
Year Read: 1993
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart and Winston
Content Rating: Ages 5+ (Some Intense Scenes and themes of Child Mistreatment)
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 interesting to read, especially about the part where the first sons are given long and extravagant names, while the second sons are always given short names in Ancient China. Arlene Mosel has done an excellent job at retelling this ancient Chinese folktale as the story is cute and somewhat intense at the same time. I really loved the way that Arlene Mosel repeats Tikki tikki tembo’s long name (Tikki tikki tembo – no sa rembo - chari bari ruchi – pip peri pembo) over and over again in the book since it is a huge tongue twister to say fast! I also loved the close relationship between Tikki tikki tembo and his brother Chang as they loved to play with each other all the time and they are always willing to help each other out during their time of need. Blair Lent’s illustrations are simplistic since there are only yellow, blue, white, black, grey and green colors on each page, but the illustrations still make the story entertaining to read, especially as they capture the true essence of Ancient China and it was also interesting to see a big contrast in clothing between Tikki tikki tembo and Chang as Tikki tikki tembo is dressed in a blue royal looking outfit while Chang is always dressed in a yellow country styled outfit, which indicates to the audience about the importance of their names.
The reason why I gave this book a four star rating instead of a five star rating is because of the way that Chang was treated in this book. Since Chang is the second born son of the family, his mother never really noticed him and they also seemed to lack any concern for when Chang fell into the well. Also, near the end of the story, it was unclear whether Chang was treated any better after the incident in the well. I usually do not approve of children being treated less kindly than their older or younger siblings, so this was a big issue for me in this book. Also, some children might feel like that their parents are paying more to their younger or older sibling and that might upset them, so parents should tell their children that they will always love all of their children equally.
All in all, “Tikki Tikki Tembo” is a great book for fans of Chinese folklore and for children who enjoy reading about some good sibling bonding! I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the scenes where the boys fall into the well might be too intense for smaller children.
Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog
This little series - 2 books so far - is one of my favourite fantasy reads EVER. (Blair's other full-length novel, Sword and Chant, which I think is set in the same universe at a far different time is really good too!) It's smart, non-formulaic, adult, thoughtful, fun, action-packed and dilemma-filled. But not the kinds of dilemmas that are huge and bombastically dramatic, but more personal, character-driven and complicated in their effects. It's darkish, but never grim. Serious, real shit is happening, but there's always a wee bit of hope. :)
Blair writes beautifully. Her prose is simple, yet filled with impact. You FEEL the desert and the heat and the cold. And her characters! OMG, they are so rich and well-rounded, filled with wonderful qualities and all too human flaws. Even the bad guys of the tale have multiple dimensions.
Speaking of the characters, all my old favourites are back and we are introduced to some new ones along the way. Also, we see changes in some characters who are coming into their own. One of them, Layla, who I despaired of in the first book, has grown and has some substance now. I love authors that can do that, make me enjoy a character I once disliked or had no time for. :)
When I think of this book and its predecessor, I tend to put them in the same corner of my mind with Guy Gavriel Kay. Wonderfully written, diverse characters drawn with skill and depth, a way of writing setting and location that puts you RIGHT THERE and just... well, just everything that's good. (And the covers are gorgeous!)
This is one of those books that makes me wish I could write reviews that are pithy and fabulous, but sadly, that's not my forté. I wanted to gobble the book up as quickly as I could, but I also wanted to take a long time and savour ever little bit of the journey - I think I ended up somewhere in between. I cannot recommend this book, this series, highly enough! I think they're little known in fantasy reader circles and that's a shame. Blair is one of my very favourite fantasy authors, along with GGK, GRRM and Katherine Kurtz so go READ THEM!!! :)
It took me til 70% that my eye-rolling became a problem. I did actually like Matt & Trevor but the cliché's..... They were too much. The sex scenes were frequent, very frequent. The maseuse scenes in the beginning were hott. Me likey!!
This was good enough for a windy, rainy wednesday afternoon.
I'm hoping that this going to be a series. I'd like to have Drew's story. He was an amazing side-character.