It's been a while, so I don't know the latest in Political Correctness as applied to any of these stories. I thought I'd heard something about "The Five Chinese Brothers" being offensive, but I don't remember what it was. I remember rolling up my eyes at the accusations and dismissing them as a matter of people making asinine interpretations. I do remember that I really liked the story when I was 6.
Knowing the original Ballad of Mulan as I do, I would do my best to steer my own children away from the Disney movie version. It's a personal preference. It's the same snobbishness that people feel when they dislike the movie adaptation of a book.
By the time I heard of the name Pearl S. Buck (biography), I was already too busy to look up any of her books. But her biography looks very interesting and I've heard nothing but good reviews about her books, so I think it could be worthwhile to check out some of her titles.
* The Amazon Editorial Review says:
...an old Chinese folktale about how the people of China came to give their children short names after traditionally giving their "first and honored" sons grand, long names. Tikki tikki tembo (which means "the most wonderful thing in the whole wide world") and his brother Chang (which means "little or nothing")...
Heh. The Chinese would never name a child something with a negative connotation. But it is true that the majority of firstborn childrens' names are more elegant, nicer, etc. than the other siblings'.
I'm not sure which character they're thinking "Chang" is, but the one I'm thinking of means "superior", "developed", "elder", "senior".