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

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  78,732 Ratings  ·  1,639 Reviews
A youngman receives two presents that will change his life:a plastic miniature Indian that magically comes tolife, and the mysterious old cupboard that makes it happen. ...more
Hardcover, 187 pages
Published March 5th 1985 by Doubleday Books for Young Readers (first published 1980)
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Popular Answered Questions

Holly I read this the first time in 4th grade, so I think around 10-12 would be a good age group for this book.
Natalie Morley 'The door is shut.' About what happens after Omri shut the cupboard door.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jun 07, 2007 Tortla rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chidderbooks, schooly
Meh. I don't remember this book much. I guess it was okay.
Kacey Powell
Oct 13, 2007 Kacey Powell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Lanae Schaal
Dec 30, 2008 Lanae Schaal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book as a light read to jump start my near dead reading habits. It did exactly what I wanted. The narrative achieved its purpose of giving me enough conflict/suspense to keep turning the pages. I know that it is definitely below my reading abilities and feel a bit guilty for reading a children's book. However, it served the purpose and has interested me in reading again. Since it was such a quick read I get the immediate gratification of saying I've read an entire book. It did have s ...more
Claire Scott
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
Oct 05, 2009 Morgan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 28, 2010 HaloRanger555 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a good book, its about a boy named Omri who lives in England and has 2 brothers named Gillon and Adiel, and his friend Patrick, who lives a few houses down from Omri and he has no siblings. On Omri's birthday Patrick gave him a plastic indian, because Omri and Patrick have a big collection. Omri's brother Gillon gave him a white cupboard that he found in a back alley because he didnt have any money to buy a real gift. There was no key for the cupboard so he couldn't open it, so Omri aske ...more
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
Shanna Gonzalez
Feb 08, 2011 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
Robert Kent
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
Sep 10, 2011 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
) Genre: Junior Book/Fantasy

2) Imagine locking a plastic toy in a cupboard and magically it comes to life! A young boy, Omri, befriends an Indian and a cowboy, Little Bear and Boone, when he does just this! Though it seems fun to meet a historical figure, Omri soon realizes that time have changed and it is difficult to accommodate the needs of someone from a different historical period. Will Omri decide to keep the toys “alive” or will he return them back to their plastic form?

3) Critique:

Mark L.
Nov 14, 2011 Mark L. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story amazed me as a child, it was one of my most favorite books, and it always made me wonder about what I would do if I ever found a cupboard like the one in the story. Of course, it is only natural for a child to want their toys to come to life and be able to talk to them and get to know them as though they were real living people. I never did pursue this vein of childhood dreaming in my writing, at least not to any extent I can identify right now. For me though, there are some things I ...more
Nov 21, 2011 Stephanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Abigail Larsen
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
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
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
Ms. Myers
Omri isn't impressed by the little plastic indian that he gets for his birthday,until his plastic Indian comes to life all caused by a cupboard and a key. Omri doesn't know what to do with his feisty new friend and they together take a long adventure getting to know each other.
I think this book is very interesting because,it has a lot of adventure and can get you to picture and visualize things that are happening in the story.
The title of this book is Indian in the cupboard the author or the
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
SUMMARY: Indian in the Cupboard / by Lynne Reid Banks; illustrated by Brock Cole -- New York : HarperCollins Publishers, c1981 (227 Pages) SUMMARY: It all starts with a birthday present Omri doesn't even want - a small plastic Indian of no use to him at all. But when an old wooden cupboard and a special key bring the unusual toy to life, Omri's Indian becomes his most important secret: precious, dangerous, wonderful - and above all magical. But being responsible for another individual, especiall ...more
D.M. Dutcher
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 03, 2013 Patrick rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic idea for a story that is poorly executed. Toys becoming alive and interacting with their child owners to teach them lessons has become a Hollywood staple. The clever plot is not enough to overcome the stilted dialogue throughout the piece. The conversations are consistently painful and move in circles rather than advance the story into a new plan. The text is a debate, internally and externally, about what to do, not based upon actions. The side characters, the principal and Patrick, ...more
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
Ana Maria 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
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
Richard Pittman
Feb 12, 2015 Richard Pittman rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not quite done reading this book to my 7-year-old, who likes the book, but I've read enough to know that I don't care for this book. I've read other reviews about the language being problematic, especially in reference to the Native American referenced in the title. There's "redskin" in there and a preoccupation with scalping. While it's distracting, I think it's mainly because the book is getting pretty old now, and standards have changed. I think few people would have been bothered by the ...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
Jul 01, 2015 Paige rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another family read that was just so-so for me. It provided plenty of opportunities to talk about stereotyping and racism though.
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
Jan 09, 2016 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.
Amy H
Jun 24, 2016 Amy H rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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).
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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)

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“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
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