A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
"Tikki TIkki Tembo" purports to be a retelling of a Chinese folktale, but it's not. Many have criticized the book as a stereotypical, unflattering depiction of allegedly Chinese culture.
Positive Role Models
Since the main character's name in "Tikki Tikki Tembo" contains no actual Chinese words, it perpetuates a stereotype that Chinese names are made up of nonsensical syllables. The story also misrepresents what the name Chang means.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that these animated versions of children's books are about as close to reading as you can get without a book. The stories are simple, and the animation is nicely done but not overpowering. Families can watch together and "read" the stories using the "read along" feature on the extras menu. "Tikki Tikki Tembo," based on a book originally published in 1968, is framed as the retelling of an old Chinese folktale, but it's not. In fact, it appears to be based on a Japanese story called "Jugemu." Many have criticized the story as a stereotypical, unflattering depiction of allegedly Chinese culture. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Watching these charming animations is like being read to. The best story is one with no words at all -- "The Tender Tale of Cinderella Penguin" is full of funny details (a unicorn tapestry on the wall features a penguin with a long horn) and wonderful animation. "Hot Hippo" is another outstanding offering. "Tikki Tikki Tembo" has a very memorable rhyme and demonstrates positive sibling and positive community relationships, but its inaccurate portrayal of Chinese people, culture, and language is problematic.
Two bonus stories aren't as well done as the first three -- the version of "Little Red Riding Hood" here isn't anything special, and a West African folklore story about Anansi isn't well-animated. But all of the stories here will encourage discussion, making them a solid choice for families to watch together.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.