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Marcia Gay Harden and the Longest Name in the World

tikki-tikki-temboI’m one of those parents who “does the voices” when reading books to my daughter. But there’s one book I always stumbled over.

Tell me, can you say Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo really fast? Thank goodness Marcia Gay Harden can.

In a new audio book out from Macmillan, the Academy Award winning actress and mom tackles the world’s longest name so that parents like me who read the Arlene Mosel classic when we were kids can finally get a handle on HOW to say it.

The CD is meant as a read-along version for kids when Mom and Dad have their hands busy (great for car trips!) with a loud gong noise signaling it’s time to turn the page. But if you  haven’t read this book to your kids, you’re missing out on some tongue-twisting fun. The story of a little boy with a “great, long name,” who falls down a well, only to be stuck for a long time while his would-be rescuers have to repeat his name over and over to get help, the classic was written in the sixties and has consistently landed on lists of top books for kids. It gets plenty of love on YouTube too:

The book has received criticism for promoting a stereotypical look at Chinese culture, specifically their names, but even that provides a segue into conversations with your kids about different languages and why they “sound funny” but are really just another way of saying the same things your kids say every day.

Gay Harden is a talented actress, but it’s as a mom of three that she tackles the re-telling of this book. She does it with warmth and humor, making it a CD that sounds a lot like mom doing “all the voices.”

You can get the new version from Amazon. Do your kids practice the longest name in the world?

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