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review 2017-09-28 06:48
Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel
Tikki Tikki Tembo - Arlene Mosel,Blair Lent

Title:  Tikki Tikki Tembo

Author:  Arlene Mosel

Artist:  Blair Lent

Genre:  China / Family / Drama / Parental Favoritism

Year Published: 1968

Year Read:  1993

 Holt, Rinehart and Winston

Source:  Library

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


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review 2016-04-18 00:04
The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack
The Story About Ping - Marjorie Flack,Kurt Wiese

Genre:  Animals / China / Family / Runaway

Year Published: 1933

Year Read:  1993

Publisher:   Grosset & Dunlap    


I actually first heard about his story years ago on a Weston Woods video. “The Story of Ping” is a Chinese story by Marjorie Flack and Kurt Wiese about how a young and beautiful duck named Ping gets lost in the Yangtze River after he tries to avoid punishment of being late. “The Story of Ping” is a cute story about showing the consequences of disobedience and the importance of family that children cannot resist!

Once there lived a beautiful young yellow duck named Ping who lived with his mother, his father, his two sisters, his three brothers, his eleven aunts, his seven uncles and his forty-two cousins in the wise-eyed boat on the Yangtze River. Every morning, the duck family would hunt for snails and fishes to eat, but in the evening, the master of the boat calls the duck family back to the boat and the last duck coming to the boat will be spanked. One afternoon however, Ping did not hear the call from his master because he was underwater and when he finally swam towards the boat, the last of his forty-two cousins crossed the bridge and Ping did not want to be spanked, so he hid in the grasses until the next morning and he set out into the Yangtze River to find his family.

This is one of those books that remind me about why I love reading about folktales from different cultures! Marjorie Flack and Kurt Wiese made a great team in both illustrating and writing this book! Marjorie Flack did a great job at pointing out the messages of this book about how being disobedient can get you into trouble and the importance of family as Ping traveled the river by himself to find his family. I also loved the Chinese influence that Marjorie Flack brought to the story as it made the story even more magical to read since it is like placing yourself in a faraway land! I also loved the way that Marjorie Flack made Ping into a brave little duck as he was tried to find his family by himself and faced dangerous obstacles by himself and children will be rooting for him throughout the book. Kurt Wiese’s illustrations are just simply beautiful, especially of the image of Ping himself as he is the only yellow duck in his entire family, which makes him truly stand out from all the other ducks. The images that I really enjoyed in this book were the images of Ping swimming in the river and you can see Ping’s beautiful reflection in the water.


Parents should know that this book focuses on Ping being separated from his family, so smaller children might be upset about Ping going out into the river by himself with danger lurking everywhere. Parents might want to read this book first to see if their children can handle Ping’s situation.

All in all, “The Story about Ping” is a fantastic book about the importance of family that many children will easily enjoy and learn from. I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the scene of Ping being separated from his family might scare smaller children.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2015-01-26 09:15
Ruby's Wish by Shirin Yim Bridges
Ruby's Wish - Shirin Yim,Sophie Blackall,Shirin Yim

Genre: Family / China / School / Independence


Year Published:2002


Year Read: 2015


Publisher: Chronicle Books



I have read many children’s books that take place in China, but I had read a children’s book that is as inspirational and heartwarming as “Ruby’s Wish!” “Ruby’s Wish” is an Ezra Jack Keats award winning children’s book by Shirin Yim Bridges along with illustrations by Sophie Blackall that is a heartwarming experience that the whole family would relive over and over again!


In ancient China, there lived an old man who had an enormous family of over one hundred children and out of all of the children, there was a little girl named Ruby who was the most unique out of all the children, as she is always shown wearing a red outfit for any occasion due to the fact that red is her favorite color. Back during those times, even though all of Ruby’s grandfather’s children were able to attend school, only the boys were allowed to learn how to read and write, while the girls were only allowed to learn how to cook and keep house for their future husbands. Ruby, however, has managed to obtain a special talent in learning calligraphy and she desperately wishes to go to a university instead of getting married.


Will Ruby be able to attend the university just like she always wanted?


Read this book to find out!


Wow! This book was simply amazing and brilliant! I never would have thought that I would read a children’s book that really stresses the importance of education while also teaching children about the importance of equality in the school system. Shirin Yim Bridges did a brilliant job at writing this book as Ruby is shown as being a gentle yet independent girl whose only desire is to attend a university just like her male cousins, despite the fact that she was not allowed to attend university due to her gender. I loved how Shirin Yim Bridges was able to tackle such a tough subject such as how women were not allowed to attend schools while men were and gave us a protagonist who was determined to break the norms of society to get want she truly desires and that made me really root for Ruby throughout the entire story since I believe that education is extremely important to anyone and everyone should have the opportunity to obtain a good education for themselves. Sophie Blackall’s artwork is truly amazing to look at as we get to see how ancient China looked like and I really loved the exotic clothing worn by each character, especially by Ruby who is constantly seen in a different variety of red clothing.


Overall, “Ruby’s Wish” is a truly beautiful and inspiring book that teaches children to stand up for what they believe in and expresses the importance of a good education for everyone. I would recommend this book to children ages four and up since there is nothing inappropriate in this book.


Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog



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review SPOILER ALERT! 2014-06-11 11:30
The Artist and the Architect by Demi
The Artist And The Architect - Demi

Genre: China / Rivalry / Trickery

Year Published: 1991

Year Read:  2014

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company




I have read many books by Demi and I always loved the fact that Demi is always exploring different cultures with her works. So, imagine my surprise and delight when I stumbled upon another one of Demi’s works called “The Artist and the Architect,” which is a tale that takes place in China. Man, did I end up enjoying this mesmerizing tale of deceit and cunning!


In Ancient China, there lived a wise and fair Emperor who had two experienced men, an architect and an artist who would create various buildings and artwork for the Emperor. Unfortunately, the artist was always jealous of the architect and he decided to plot the demise of the architect. The artist then tells the Emperor about how the Emperor’s deceased father wanted an architect to build him a palace in Heaven and in order to do that, they must gather a large pile of wood and set it on fire with the architect standing in the middle of the fire until he rises up to Heaven.


I have always loved reading folktales from different countries, especially China and I was so delighted in finding another folktale from China retold by none other than Demi! I loved the way that Demi retold this tale as it was full of drama and magical elements at the same time!   I was amazed at the fact that this is a tale about the artist deceiving the Emperor in order to get rid of the architect, which is a subject that I find so common in many folktales where the main antagonist wishes to get rid of the protagonist through any means possible and that is what made this story so interesting to read! I also loved the Chinese influence of this tale as it made this story even more exotic in tone and I have always enjoyed checking out folktales from different countries! But, probably the best part of this entire book was Demi’s illustrations as they were truly beautiful and creative to look at! I loved the way that Demi drew the palaces in China as they look so beautiful and I also loved the clothing worn by the Emperor and his subjects as they truly look so distinguished!


The only problem I had with this book was that the ending seemed a bit too ambiguous, since I was not able to figure out what became of the artist at the end of the book.




The only thing I gathered from the ending of the book was this little proverb that was mentioned:


“The small man harbors an envious spirit; the great man rejoices in the talents of others.”


It is sort of unknown if the architect forgave the artist for his deceit or not, although it looked like they were making up at the end, judging by the image of them shaking hands.




Overall, “The Artist and the Architect” is a fantastic folktale from China that fans of Chinese folklore would enjoy immensely! I would recommend this book to children ages six and up since the book might be too complex for some smaller children.


Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog


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review 2014-03-21 08:43
Lon Po Po by Ed Young
Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China - Ed Young
Genre: Horror / Folktale / Fairy Tale / China

Year Published: 1989

Year Read:  2010

Publisher: Philomel Books
Lon Po Po
“Lon Po Po” is a Caldecott Medal winning book by Ed Young that is a remake of Brothers Grimm’s classic “Red Riding Hood,” only this time, there are three sisters who outwit a cunning wolf in this tale.  “Lon Po Po” may be a bit too scary for smaller children because of the images, but older children will easily love this story that is full of mystery and suspense.

Ed Young has done a great job at writing and illustrating this old Chinese folktale about how three sisters outwit a cunning and frightening wolf. The writing is brief, as there is only one paragraph on each page, but it is dramatic and creepy enough to scare small children as the writing gets intense whenever the wolf seems to get closer to eating the girls after he stealthily disguises himself as the grandmother to get at the girls.  Ed Young’s illustrations are brilliantly beautiful and haunting at the same time as he illustrates the wolf being terrifying and mysterious as the wolf seems to appear as some kind of mist on every page to imply that he is some sort of evil spirit.

Parents should know that there are some scary images in this book, mainly the images of the wolf himself as he is presented as some kind of mist mainly during the scenes where he enters the girls’ house and he is always in the shadows, where the audience cannot clearly see him.  Parents might want to reassure their children about the dangers of letting in strangers in one’s house and they may want to read this book before they read it to their child to see if their child can handle the scary images presented in this book.

“Lon Po Po” is a great story for children who love Chinese folktales and love listening to stories that has a horror theme.  I would recommend this book to children ages six and up since the images of the wolf looking mysterious and menacing might scare smaller children.
Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog
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