The Return of the Indian
by Lynne Reid Banks
This is the sequel to The Indian in the Cupboard
, or rather, the second of five books in the popular series by Lynne Reid Banks.
A year has gone by since Omri and his best friend Patrick used a magic key and an old medicine cabinet to bring a plastic toy Indian brave to life. In that time, the two boys have moved out of their old neighborhood and grown in different directions. And their memories of a little tiny Indian and an equally tiny cowboy, snatched from their real lives in the past, have begun to seem like make-believe.
Except Omri has just won a creative writing contest for his "original" story about the plastic Indian.
And Patrick still keeps his plastic cowboy in his pocket.
Brought together again by a new twist, they bring Little Bear and his wife Bright Stars back out of the past. And at such a time! Little Bear has just been wounded in a raid on his village by their Algonquin enemies and the French. And Bright Stars is about to have their firstborn child.
Omri and Patrick nurse Little Bear back to health and try to prepare him to go back to his village and fight against his enemies once again. Only this time, perhaps, the boys go a little too far in playing around with history. And when they realize that the magic key also fits Omri's keepsake trunk, the boys find a way to go back in time and see the resulting Indian battle for themselves. It turns out to be a hard lesson for everyone concerned.
Once again, Ms. Banks creates a tale about children learning to see things from a more grown-up perspective, taking on more responsibility, and realizing more of the consequences of what at first seemed like playing with toys. But these little Indians and soldiers, etc., are not toys; they are people. And they don't come out of nowhere; they are ripped from real history, and must be sent back as well. So Omri and Patrick learn about the dangers of playing, not only with people's lives, but with the fabric of time itself. And even a victory can be mixed with loss, shame, and regret.
On the other hand, not everything goes badly. A very tiny baby is born. The skinhead punks who live in Omri's new neighborhood learn a lesson. Faltering friendships, dying childhood, and failing spirits are renewed. And the stage is set for even more wonderful adventures, beginning with The Secret of the Indian.
Recommended Age: 10+
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