Morgan's Reviews > The Indian in the Cupboard

The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
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Oct 05, 09

bookshelves: 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 kill the dirty, smelly Injun. Omri, the little boy who is given Little Bear as a present (one he doesn't want--again, this is a terrible book), refuses at first to gather the materials for Little Bear to make a longhouse--which is traditionally the lodging of an Iroquois, not a tepee. This is only one example of how Banks has made her book a metaphor for how ignorant white people have subjugated and marginalized the Indian populations of America by refusing to understand, listen to, or accommodate Indian heritage. No one should willingly pick up this book.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Joselle173 LOL - a plastic toy coming to life in a magic cupboard is unimaginative? FWIW, Omri, a YOUNG boy (who according to you "subjugated and marginalized" Little Bear by painstakingly making a tepee for him), lived in *England*. I wasn't aware that English schools spent a great deal of time studying American Indian culture in the younger grades. So it seems to me the author made him act like he should be acting under the circumstances. (I'd actually be shocked if an American student could tell you what kind of housing ANY native peoples lived in.)

Boone, the cowboy, is from the late 1800's. Have you ever studied history from this time period? Perhaps American school texts have scrubbed the history books clean of this information, but the way Boone talked and acted in the book was fairly characteristic of white folks back then. They did not like Native Americans and "Indians" were known to attack white settlers and pioneers (not arguing if they were justified in doing so, only stating why the cowboy might talk about them that way).

And when we read about this kind of discriminatory dialog, what a great opportunity to talk to our children about it.


Marineke I couldn't agree more!


message 3: by Greg (new)

Greg Harris Your review is right on.
Q: I wonder how many First Nations, Inuit, Metis teachers would read this to a class to point out stereotypes?
A: Zero. And that's how many teachers should read it to their classes.
It isn't in my elementary school library.


message 4: by David (new)

David Lighten up, Francis.


Katie Ryan I agree. Another negative point: boring protagonist and unrealistically no antagonist.


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