Parents' Guide to

Tikki Tikki Tembo

By Tracy Moore, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 4+

Classic read-aloud has problematic portrayal of Chinese.

Tikki Tikki Tembo Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 18+


Misrepresents Chinese culture. Would not recommend as a read aloud.
2 people found this helpful.
age 18+


Story written by a white woman falsely portraying it as a Chinese folktale. At best culturally ignorant, at worst overtly racist. Avoid.
1 person found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (2 ):

This visually appealing, folktale-like story demonstrates positive sibling and positive community relationships, but its portrayal of Chinese people, culture, and language is problematic. Kids enjoy the repetition of Tikki Tikki Tembo's full name, but it isn't real Chinese. The story does show the value of honoring traditions while being open to newer, better ways, should they prove useful.

Parents can use this story as a teachable moment about bias and stereotypes and may want to seek out genuine Chinese folktales and books that accurately portray Chinese culture, language, and perspective. To find some good choices, check out our list of Asian and Asian American Books.

Book Details

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