Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Indian in the Cupboard (The Indian in the Cupboard, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Indian in the Cupboard (The Indian in the Cupboard, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Indian in the Cupboard (The Indian in the Cupboard #1)

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  82,106 Ratings  ·  1,776 Reviews
At first, Omri is unimpressed with the plastic Indian toy he is given for his birthday. But when he puts it in his old cupboard and turns the key, something extraordinary happens that will change Omri's life for ever.
For Little Bull, the Iroquois Indian brave, comes to life...
192 pages
Published 2003 by Collins (first published 1980)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Indian in the Cupboard, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Natalie Morley 'The door is shut.' About what happens after Omri shut the cupboard door.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Nov 21, 2011 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
Apparently many people feel that this book is full of racist stereotypes. I can see where they're coming from, starting with the outdated term Indian, as opposed to Native American (or Iroquois, in this case). Not only that, but the Indian in the book, Little Bear, speaks in very broken English, and he has a seemingly simplistic, stereotypical outlook.'s hard to be mad at a book for being racist when it portrays the Indian as the wisest, bravest, most hard-working character in the b
The Shayne-Train
This book, oh man. This was the book I used to read and re-read and re-re-read as a kid. That book that the cliche reader goes through so many times that he wears out the cheap mass-market paperback and has to beg his parents to buy him another copy from the Scholastic book order forms from school ('membah dem?).

Now I get to share it with my daughter, and rediscover how grand an adventure it truly is.

OH! And anyone who hasn't read it, and is scanning down through the reviews to see if it is rig
Rebecca McNutt
I've heard a lot of negativity regarding this book, especially that it is notoriously racist. However, although it does feature a few dated stereotypes, I don't know if I would really call it racist. In fact, the book is not only an entertaining fantasy story, but it also teaches younger readers about looking past the stereotypes in toys, books and the media and learning the true history and cultural diversity of humanity. Omri and Little Bear become close friends in the novel, also showing read ...more
Jul 02, 2017 Amber rated it it was amazing
Omri is a young boy who receives a cupboard from his best friend Patrick. When he uses his Grandmother's old key with a red satin ribbon in the cupboard with his Indian, something magical begins to happen in the cupboard. His Indian magically comes to life. Can Omri handle the magic of bringing his toys to life? Read on and find out for yourself.

This was a pretty good read. I had seen the film when I was younger but didn't know it was based on a book so when I borrowed it from my church's librar
Kacey Powell
Oct 13, 2007 Kacey Powell rated it really liked it
I read this as a kid and I just re-read it last week b/c I'm teaching it to my 4th graders. I love it for the vocabulary (wielded, lithely, haughtily) that I get to expose them to. I love it for the well-defined characters. Yesterday my students wrote from the perspective of Little Bear and they loved it. (Me cold. Who this big man? What want?) And I love it for the fantastical story. Great book for kids and fun to read again as an adult.
Oct 05, 2009 Morgan rated it did not like it
Shelves: ya
What a racist, dull, unimaginative book. Full of stereotypes and negative images, this book should be taught only to teach young people how NOT to write books. I only read this book for a grad class and would never recommend it to anyone. First, the writing is cliched and boring. Secondly, the way Lynne Reid Banks has portrayed the Indian (apparently, Little Bear is Iroquois) is racist and offensive. Little Bear only speaks in grunts and incomplete sentences, and the cowboy Boone wants only to k ...more
D.M. Dutcher
Dec 23, 2012 D.M. Dutcher rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shanna Gonzalez
Jul 08, 2010 Shanna Gonzalez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-08-12
When Omri, a young English boy, puts a toy Indian in a medicine cabinet and turns a special key, the Indian magically comes to life. But the Indian is not merely a toy come to life, but a real person with a history who has been transported into Omri’s time, in miniature form. Complications arise when Omri’s thoughtless friend puts his toy cowboy in the cupboard to see if they will fight. The two boys then endanger the small people by taking them to school.

Unlike other fantasies which create an e
Joanne G.
My thought, when reading The Indian in the Cupboard, was that I wish I'd read it as a child to fully enjoy it. I was surprised when I got ready to write this review to see from Goodreads that the book was published in 1980! I would have pegged the story as something written in the '50s or '60s. I realize I've been conditioned by society's sensitivities, view of political correctness, and critical spirit of looking at everything as though it contains hidden hatred; I had to fight my initial inter ...more
Feb 03, 2008 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Golly, I must have read this book a hundred times. There was just something so magical, so appealing about it! I hope kids today are still reading, I think it's timeless.
Jun 07, 2007 Tortla rated it it was ok
Shelves: chidderbooks, schooly
Meh. I don't remember this book much. I guess it was okay.
Apr 05, 2017 Abby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was one of my favorites as a kid and I hadn't read it since then, so I decided it was time for another go. And it was just as charming as ever. What's more fun than toys coming to life? I'm convinced this book is where Toy Story got the idea from. Plus Little Bear and Boone make the greatest pair, like Buzz Lightyear and Woody.
Abigail Larsen
May 09, 2012 Abigail Larsen rated it liked it
I’m all for good literature that stimulates the reader’s imagination. So it’s maybe a little surprising that I wasn’t overly fond of the classic Indian in the Cupboard.

Omri is disappointed with his birthday gift. Frankly, a plastic Indian doesn’t hold much appeal to him. But everything changes when he gives the Indian a home inside a medicine cabinet and turns what appears to be a magic key. The Indian comes alive as Little Bull, a young brave with an exciting history. Omri is delighted with the
Rebecca Reid
Hmmm. I am not sure where to put this in terms of "stars." I just reread it. I loved it as a child. I remember learning about Iroquois Indians and Longhouses and being fascinated. I loved the magical adventure when a toy comes to life. For those that do not know, young Omri locks his plastic toy American Indian in the cupboard and the Indian comes to life! His friend does the same to his plastic cowboy, and the result is disastrous.

As an adult, I'm incredibly uncomfortable with the basic errors
Claire Scott
Apr 30, 2009 Claire Scott rated it did not like it
A proctoring-during-STAR-testing reread.

Pros: action-packed, good characterization of Omri and Patrick, moves quickly and has pretty good writing. Keeps kids instantly engaged and reading. Even as a critical, discomfited reader I was racing through and waiting to see what would happen next (I didn't remember it from my first read over twenty years ago).

Cons: "problematic" is an understatement when it comes the ridiculous stereotypes *combined* with the whole "he's a real person, this has some
Kathy Worrell  ツ
What a great book!

I know a 6 year old boy would really enjoy this. I think I'll buy him a copy.
Emily Valenti
When Omri’s friend Peter gives him a small second-hand plastic Red Indian for his Birthday he is not overwhelmed. He is however pleased with the present from his brother, an old cupboard found in the alley, because he likes ‘the fun of keeping things in’ cupboards and manages to find a fancy old key for it in his mother’s box. Yet his initial satisfaction is nothing compared to the excitement and wonder that follows when Omri places the Indian in the cupboard, turns the old key and finds out jus ...more
The Indian in the Cupboard is a very moving story about a boy named Omri who discovers he has a magical cupboard that can bring plastic toys to life.

In some places, the text seems a little racist, dealing mainly with stereotypes. The most noticeable occurance of this is Little Bull, who speaks in broken 'tv' English. e.g. "Me cold." However, it is not just the Indian (Native American) who is portrayed like this, but the cowboy as well. At first, this stereotypical way of portraying the character
Ana Rînceanu
While I can understand that the intent of the book was to entertain and educate young people about Native Americans, I just can't shake the feeling that this book is too creepy to enjoy unless you have nostalgia for it and know very little about Native peoples history. Making a member of a different race a toy that belongs to a white child is problematic and just because Omri is nice to his come-to-life-toy doesn't make it okay to minimize the conflict between the settlers and the natives. Also ...more
Amy H
Jun 20, 2016 Amy H rated it really liked it
The second installment in the mommy-Will summer movie-book club! Really cute book. Will loved it and it was fun to read to him. Movie was also great. But Because of Winn Dixie is still my favorite (our first club selection).
Robert Kent
Aug 20, 2010 Robert Kent rated it it was amazing
The Indian in the Cupboard is absolutely a classic and one of my favorite books from my own childhood. Having just told you that, I think you’ll agree that there’s little point in my bothering with a review. I loved this book as a kid, I read all of the sequels, and having only just rediscovered it as an adult, I found I loved it no less for having grown up (sort of). I’ve tried a couple of times to watch the movie version, but I just can’t get into it—probably because they cast American actors ...more
Brook G
Mar 20, 2017 Brook G rated it it was amazing
The indian is in a cupboard. He got the cupboard from his brother for his birthday and his friend pratrick gave him a indian and at night his mom gave him a key to the cupboard and he put the indian in the cupboard and at morning time he here's a noise and he look in the cupboard and the indian is alive.
Aug 26, 2010 Nikki rated it it was ok
Reading these books again as an adult is kind of sad. Unlike some of the other children's books I've been rereading, they don't seem to have kept their magic, and I'm irritated -- of course -- by the stereotypical and rather racist portrayal of the Indian who Omri brings out of the cupboard. There is at least some engagement with the idea that such a man, brought out of the past as a plastic toy, wouldn't be a toy, and at least some indication that not all Indians would be the same (e.g. the arg ...more
Oct 17, 2012 Angie rated it really liked it
Omri gets a plastic Indian from his friend Patrick for his birthday; he also gets and old cupboard from his brother and a key from his mom. Together these items make magic. When Omri puts the Indian in the cupboard and locks it the Indian comes alive. Suddenly he finds himself in possession of Little Bear an Iroquois brave who wants things and has to be taken care of. When Patrick finds out about Little Bear he wants his own and chaos ensues. Soon the boys realize that they have real people who ...more
کاملا فراموش کرده بودم که تو چهارده سالگی...در مورد کتاب هایی که میخوندم یه سری یاددداشت می نوشتم...
پیدا کردن این یادداشت ها...خیلی حس خوبی بهم داد...مثل این بود که خودم رو تو چهارده سالگی ملاقات کنم...
این کتاب رو تو همون دوره ی زمانی خوندم...و حرفای منِ چهارده ساله میگه کاملا مجذوب این کتاب ساده ی فانتزی شدم...
چیزی که توجهم رو جلب کرد آخر یادداشتم بود که این طور نوشتم... که امری کلید رو برای همیشه به مادرش پس میده...ولی شاید روزی دوباره...
این طرز نوشتم میگه...مدت ها با خودم فکر کردم آیا ممکنه ا
May 04, 2010 Logan rated it it was amazing
It has been many years since I read this book in 5th grade, and I was a little worried that it was going to be some awful, racist book that made all "Indians" generic and fierce in a beast-like way. I'm still reeling from discovering how hard it was to read Little House on the Prairie, where I actually had to read aloud the words "the only good Indian is a dead Indian." But this book was *wonderful*! Banks presents The Indian and The Cowboy as real, multi-dimensional people responding as best th ...more
Be Like the Squirrel, Girl
Oh man. I loved this book when I was a kid because the idea of bringing toys to life is pure magic. But it was painful for me to read this aloud to my child. There are some cringe-inducing stereotypes and language, which of course I didn't remember from childhood. The Iroquois man speaks in broken English, the cowboy sounds like a drunken hick, and the Iroquois woman (who only appears briefly at the end), doesn't get a chance to speak at all. Also, I had to skip over many references to "scalping ...more
Oct 15, 2015 Torii rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this again to sub for a 4th grade class- I only had to prep for a chapter, but how could I resist? It's even better than I remember. I love when my favorite kids books stand the test of time! Omri is the best. Patrick is the worst.
May 31, 2015 Paige rated it liked it
Another family read that was just so-so for me. It provided plenty of opportunities to talk about stereotyping and racism though.
Brooke (Books with Brooke)
Jun 15, 2017 Brooke (Books with Brooke) rated it really liked it
One of my favorites as a child.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Future Teachers, ...: Jack Review 4 1 2 Nov 04, 2016 12:39PM  
Different names for characters? 9 105 Nov 02, 2016 06:02PM  
Future Teachers, ...: Chase Tiner Review #4 1 3 Oct 17, 2016 10:09PM  
  • The Castle in the Attic (The Castle in the Attic, #1)
  • Runaway Ralph (Ralph S. Mouse, #2)
  • The Celery Stalks at Midnight (Bunnicula, #3)
  • Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher (Magic Shop, #2)
  • The Enormous Egg
  • Poppy (Tales of Dimwood Forest, #1)
  • Homer Price (A Puffin Book)
  • Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Farm (Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, #3)
  • The Dragons of Blueland (My Father's Dragon, #3)
  • The Great Brain (Great Brain #1)
  • Streams to the River, River to the Sea
  • On the Far Side of the Mountain (Mountain, #2)
  • Behind the Attic Wall
  • Afternoon of the Elves
Lynne Reid Banks is a British author of books for children and adults. She has written forty books, including the best-selling children's novel The Indian in the Cupboard, which has sold over 10 million copies and been made into a film.
Banks was born in London, the only child of James and Muriel Reid Banks. She was evacuated to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada during World War II but returned after
More about Lynne Reid Banks...

Other Books in the Series

The Indian in the Cupboard (5 books)
  • The Return of the Indian (The Indian in the Cupboard, #2)
  • The Secret of the Indian (The Indian in the Cupboard, #3)
  • The Mystery of the Cupboard (The Indian in the Cupboard, #4)
  • The Key to the Indian (The Indian in the Cupboard, #5)

Share This Book

“Omri refused to get involved in an argument. He was somehow scared that if he talked about the Indian, something bad would happen. In fact, as the day went on and he longed more and more to get home, he began to feel certain that the whole incredible happening—well, not that it hadn’t happened, but that something would go wrong. All his thoughts, all his dreams were centered on the miraculous, endless possibilities opened up by a real, live, miniature Indian of his very own. It would be too terrible if the whole thing turned out to be some sort of mistake.” 2 likes
“incredulously.” 0 likes
More quotes…