The Indian in the Cupboard
by Lynne Reid Banks
On Omri's birthday, his best friend Patrick gives him a plastic toy Indian. In all honesty, Omri is much more interested in the gift from his brother, an old medicine chest with a keyhole into which a very special key fits-- a key given to his mother as a keepsake long ago. Perhaps because of a birthday cake-cutting wish, or perhaps because of the promises connected with the key itself, something magical happens when Omri puts the Indian in the cupboard and turns the key.
The result is more than Omri could have imagined, even if he had imagined toys coming to life or tiny people coming out of a magical cupboard. What he gets is a real person from the 1700s-- an Iroquois brave named Little Bear, who has scalped many enemies and buried a wife. Omri discovers that any plastic toy he puts in the cupboard becomes real... or, the next time, goes back to being a toy. But the complicating factor is, what do you do when real people from the past become toy-sized figures in your bedroom? How do you cope with their fear and loneliness? What do you feed them? How do you protect them from danger and discovery? And most importantly, how can you make them happy so that, perhaps, you can keep them?
Omri learns a lot about treating people with dignity, no matter what their size. His friendship with Patrick is put to the most severe test you can imagine, and becomes stronger for it. Little Bear finds friendship, love, and honor. A school headmaster gives Omri the scare of his life, and an art teacher gives him a much needed laugh. And after complications involving Omri's brother's soccer shorts and his other brother's pet rat, a World War I corpsman and an elderly Indian chief, a shopkeeper with a sharp eye for shoplifters and an argument over a TV program that almost turns fatal, Omri learns about knowing when to let go.
This book bursts with humor and humanity, suspense and terror, wonderful magic and a touching glimpse of one step in growing up. It's exciting, heart warming, and full of people whose flesh-and-blood reality is as wonderful to the reader as Little Bear's is to Omri. The result is that you care about them. And not only is this book the basis for a major motion picture, but it is also the first in a series of five books by an author whose other interesting-sounding titles include Harry the Poisonous Centipede's Big Adventure: Another Story to Make You Squirm. I will be keeping my eyes peeled for them, and I recommend the same to you.
Recommended Age: 10+
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