I read this book to my 6 and 9 year old sons during bedtime over a few days. It was a favorite classic of mine growing up, and I was happy to share it with them. They loved it and were so sad when the story finally ended (and are begging me to pick up the sequels). Children can easily relate to the main character, a boy named Omri who receives a magic key for an old cupboard that can turn his plastic figures to life. This story is not all fun and games. The "toys" are real people pulled from their lives into Omri's world. The story does not cover the how-and-why; it retains the magic. But the book does touch on weighty issues of responsibility (Omri needs to feed and almost cater to these toys-come-to-life), respect and learning about their culture, resolving a conflict with this best friend over the men, as well as injury and life-and-death. These lives, put into Omri's hands, are not to be taken lightly. I loved the drama and life lessons in this book. On the other hand, there are so many laughs in this book! My boys were imitating Little Bear's stubborn demands as well as Cowboy Boone's crying bouts. They laughed at the school adventure and almost cried when Little Bear was hurt. It was a wonderful read to share together (or for my older to read on his own), and we can't wait to revisit our friends.