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The Indian in the Cupboard Paperback – February 9, 2010

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Editorial Reviews Review

What could be better than a magic cupboard that turns small toys into living creatures? Omri's big brother has no birthday present for him, so he gives Omri an old medicine cabinet he's found. Although their mother supplies a key, the cabinet still doesn't seem like much of a present. But when an exhausted Omri dumps a plastic toy Indian into the cabinet just before falling asleep, the magic begins. Turn the key once and the toy comes alive; turn it a second time and it's an action figure again.

The Indian in the Cupboard is one of those rare books that is equally appealing to children and adults. The story of Omri and the Indian, Little Bear, is replete with subtle reminders of the responsibilities that accompany friendship and love. For kids, it's a great yarn; for most parents, it's also a reminder that Omri's wrenching decision to send his toy back to its own world is not so different from the recognition of their children's emerging independence.

The Indian in the Cupboard is also available in Spanish (La Llave Magica.) (The publisher recommends this book for children ages 9-12, although younger kids will enjoy hearing it read aloud.) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Skyhigh fantasy that will enthrall readers."--Publishers Weekly

"Best novel of the year (1981)."--The New York Times.

Rebecca Caudill Young Reader's Book Award, California Young Reader Medal, Pacific Northwest Young Readers Choice Award, A Virginia Young Readers Award.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 0780 (What's this?)
  • Series: The Indian in the Cupboard
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling (February 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375847537
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375847530
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (419 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #417 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Plume45 on August 13, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Lynn Reid Banks' debut presentation in what would become an excellent YA fantasy series remains as fresh and fascinating today as when it was published in 1980. Set in England the story revolves around some birthday gifts to Omri, the youngest of three boys: a plastic figure of an Indian from his best buddy, Patrick, and a scrounged medicine cabinet from one of his brothers. When his mother donates a special key which she has cherished since girlhood, the stage is set for a remarkable adventure--one in time and space, plus personal growth for all four main characters.

Plastic miniatures of living things become alive when briefly locked inside the cupboard. Not just alive, but real people and animals from other time periods and cultures. How can a mere boy play god with adult lives? Omri-at first viewed as the all-powerful giant in control--has to juggle sibling problems, parental issues, school authorities and the spontaneous decisions of his best friend, in a desperate attempt to keep his precious secret. What will happen if real adults find out what he is hiding?

Both boys quickly realize that they are no longer dealing with mere toys or entertaining pets, but with actual people with needs, personalities and demands--coupled with adult logic.

The author creates increasingly difficult situations in the

ensuing chapters--winding the spring of dramatic tension ever tighter--with the result that the book is all butimpossible to put down. Omri learns a great deal about the Iroquois culture,

but the boys' friendship is strained to the breaking point. Natural enemies like a cowboy and an Indian--from different eras in American history--must learn to peacefully coexist in times of mutual danger and for the boys' peace of mind. Can peace and

trust be coerced or gradually taught? A delightful and thoroughly captivating read for kids of all ages! A new Classic!
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on May 12, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read the book The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks. I liked how Omri changed during the book, because of the Indian. Omri learned more responsibility. The Indian, Little Bear also grew more responsible as Boone came along. Boone and Patrick also became more responsible.

In the beginning Omri was not really paying much attention to the presents he got for his birthday. Because he just left them on the floor. Once Little Bear came to life he realized that it was real and had to take care of it.

If Little Bear is responsible for anything Omri would take the blame so he wouldn't be discovered. Omri grew very close to Little Bear. And because of this the Indian grew more responsible.

The main point is that Omri changed each day that the Indian was there. His changes were small but they were changes. I don't think anyone will ever change Omri back. I really liked this book and you will probably like it too.

Chris a 6th grader
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
My six year old son reads easily on a 3rd - 5th grade reading level. But we have trouble finding wonderful things for him to read because so many books written for that age group include a level of intensity that's just not appropriate for a six year old. Now, don't get me wrong -- bits that my son thinks are "too scary" are usually just right for the age group for which the book was written. But it is wonderful to find great stories that aren't "too scary" that will still engage the imagination of my precocious reader.
That's why we like Indian in the Cupboard so much. It's an imaginative, well-written story with interesting characters and a plot that's interesting but not "too scary." Best of all, it contains kids who aren't perfect, but still have their hearts in the right places -- and thankfully, the book isn't preachy about its morality.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Blah on August 5, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was one of my favorite books as a child. I was a little disappointed with the movie especially if it keeps people from taking the time to read the book. It is worth the read whether you are a kid or an adult. It is filled with rich imaginative imagery that was not captured by the movie. Furthermore, while the whole premise of a little Indian coming alive in a cupboard is engough to keep the story moving, this is but one of the many adventures twist which unfolds in this great story. The second book in the series is just as good but then the series tapers off a little but the first two are definately not to miss.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By CookieBooky on August 6, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's Omri's birthday and his brother and his friend have gotten him gifts that don't seem like the best gifts in the world. His brother gave him a cupboard that he found in an alley. And his friend, Patrick, gave him a plastic Indian figure. There's nothing too magical about these items and Omri is less than interested in them until he finds a key among his mother's extra keys that fits the cupboard.

He finds that when he puts a plastic figure in the cupboard and then locks the cupboard with that particular key, the figure comes to life! With a little experimenting, he finds that if he then locks the live figure back in, it returns to its original form.

Now Omri has a live Indian (a very small live Indian) living in his room. Sounds pretty neat, huh? Well, Omri soon finds out that it's not so easy to be responsible for another human being no matter how small they are.

The Indian's name is Little Bear and he makes demands on Omri such as asking for supplies to make a longhouse, paint for decorations and - most importantly - food. Omri has to go to great lengths to help Little Bear while at the same time keeping the Indian a secret from his family and friends. When he finally does tell his friend, Patrick, Omri regrets it.

Patrick wants to play with the cupboard but he doesn't care that the figures are occupied by real human beings with real feelings. This gets both he and Omri in trouble.

This book is an interesting look at what happens when something that seems like it would be the coolest thing can turn out to not be so fun once reality hits. It is also interesting to see the empathy that Omri has for these small beings and how he tries to care for them and show Patrick how to care for them too.
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