Kidlit & Minecraft: Tikki Tikki Tembo


Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel is the second book we read for SKrafty’s Young Literature Classics 1 self-paced class. This 1968 classic claims to be a retelling of an ancient Chinese folktale about why Chinese names are so short. (SKrafty does point out that this is based on a fictional tradition). I’ll be honest: I wasn’t a huge fan of this book, and I don’t think it’s one we’d read it again. The problems I had lie mostly in the illustrations (although the text isn’t perfect) and ranged from Chinese culture being confused with Japanese culture to outright errors (Chang bowing backwards probably being the most glaring). These issues left me with a very subtle feeling of cultural insensitivity that I couldn’t shake.

C did seem to enjoy the book well enough as we were reading. The writing itself is lovely, and the illustrations have an old-world quality to them. And Tikki Tikki Tembo’s full name sure was a lot of fun to say! However, this book wasn’t one she brought up in conversation later, as she normally does.

For the Minecraft assignment, she was asked to build a well. She wasn’t interested in making it look authentic; she was in an especially creative mood that week. Gotta love a well dressed up in purple wool!

Our next book will be Stone Soup by Ann McGovern.