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The Indian in the Cupboard

(The Indian in the Cupboard #1)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  100,377 ratings  ·  2,401 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 Bear, the Iroquois Indian brave, comes to life...
...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published 2003 by Collins (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.
Serena Snively The difference in names come from the Author being from England she didn't know a lot about the naming traditions. She learned as she wrote. It was ad…moreThe difference in names come from the Author being from England she didn't know a lot about the naming traditions. She learned as she wrote. It was adapted to fit the naming style. In most books written outside of North America they will change things to make it more accessible to the readers. Take Harry Potter they changed a lot of words as they are not ones used in North America.(less)

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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  100,377 ratings  ·  2,401 reviews


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Stephanie
Nov 21, 2011 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 I can see where they're coming from, starting with the outdated term Indian, as opposed to Native American (or Iroquois, in this case).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.

However...it'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
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Mischenko
We found our copy of The Indian in the Cupboard at a used book sale. This middle-grade fantasy is a favorite from childhood, and I was so excited to find a vintage copy in good condition. Our copy is a paperback edition from 1982. It’s a fairly quick read around 181 pages. The illustrations in our copy are somewhat lackluster, but they do offer a visual of the characters, which is a plus.

In this story, a young boy named Omri receives a cupboard as a gift from his brother Gillon on his birthday.
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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
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Karina
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Okay so this is so cute and full of imagination! Wouldn't you as a kid in Elementary school love to have a magical cupboard that brought all your "plas-stikk" toys to life? Omri thought the same thing until so much trouble and lies got into his conscience. The bossy Indian, the crybaby cowboy, a demanding friend, a loose rat in the house....

So much fun to read. Felt like a kid all over again. I think this would be a good book for kids who hate reading.
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Amber
Jul 02, 2017 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
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Kacey Powell
Oct 13, 2007 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. ...more
Alaina
Found this book under my sisters bed.. because she's a hoarder and shit.. so I was so freaking happy to read this book! I remember the movie (because I also own that shit too) but for some reason I have NEVER read this book! I really need to sit down and reconsider life changes.. so that I actually read a book before it becomes a movie! MAYBE ONE DAY GUYS!

The Indian in the Cupboard brought back so many childhood memories. I loved this movie. I thought it was the shit. So diving into the book was
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Jessica
Feb 03, 2008 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.

Reread 2018: Really interesting to read this aloud as an adult, and aloud to my kids. I was worried that it would be racist, and . . . sort of? But mostly in the way the Little Bear talks. He's new to speaking English, so it's a little short and abrupt, and I think she took it too far, but not to the point where he was a "grunti
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Morgan
Oct 05, 2009 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
James
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am not too sure why I chose to read ‘The Indian in the Cupboard’ by Lynne Reid Banks – other than it came with a pile of other books recently ‘donated’ to me by a colleague. Whilst it is a book I was aware of (perhaps from the film adaptation) it wasn’t one that had got anywhere near my ‘to read’ list. Neither did I realise that ‘The Indian in the Cupboard’ was written by the same author who produced ‘The L-Shaped Room’ – a comparatively ground breaking novel of 1960. ‘The L-Shaped Room’ was a ...more
Shanna Gonzalez
Jul 08, 2010 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
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Kelly
May 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a fantastic re-read of a childhood classic. Flipping open this book again, the most surprising discovery was that Lynn Reid Banks was a British author! I had no idea, and I don't remember being 10 years old and realizing that, although the English turns of phrase are apparent upon re-read.

I absolutely loved this. It's magical, it's imaginative, it's well-written, and the characters are unforgettable. Banks draws a perfect Little Bear and a perfect Omri, particularly in their dialogue and t
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D.M. Dutcher
Dec 23, 2012 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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Tortla
Jun 07, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: schooly, chidderbooks
Meh. I don't remember this book much. I guess it was okay. ...more
Traci
Oct 03, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book. Another of the Battle of the Books titles that I'm working my way through. I've never read it before, nor have I seen the movie.

I love the fantastical element of the story, even though some of it feels dated (which makes sense, seeing as how it was written in 1980, almost 40 years ago!). What surprised me was the level of maturity shown by Omri, as he quickly realizes that his "Indian" isn't a living toy, but an actual human being - just very small. And that Little Bear obviou
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Abby
Apr 05, 2017 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. ...more
Kathryn in FL
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read years ago and then saw the movie. I thought it was excellent, though my brain injury prevents me from remembering much about it. I think I would read it again.
Abigail
May 09, 2012 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
...more
Claire
Apr 30, 2009 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
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Angela
4.5!

This was fun and exciting and everything I was hoping it'd be!

I first heard about this book after spending a rainy afternoon at the cottage this past July. The place we were renting from had not one but TWO VCR's and a heck-ton of VHS's...yes, I was in my glory. The nostalgia was high. Amongst the cassettes was the movie The Indian in the Cupboard. Admittedly I had never watched or heard of it before but it was my husband's favorite movie growing up. So we nestled into the sofa with some bla
...more
Mary
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm always a little nervous to go back and re-read books that I used to love. I'm one of 5 kids, so individual storytime did not happen in my house. Instead, mom gathered all 5 of us around, decked out in our jammies with wet hair from baths, and read to us all from the same book, young and old alike, before we went to bed. This series was a popular go-to for those storytimes--we read them over and over again. I'm not sure if I love this book so much because it's simply divine (if a bit overwrou ...more
Jamie
May 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: youth
This was better than expected! I did this as an audiobook and the narration was great! I loved how she did the voice of Little Bull. It added a lot of personality to the story. I remember vaguely seeing the movie years ago and was unimpressed. But this I actually liked! The moral perplexity of real vs plastic. The care needed for these small people (and lengths he goes to take care for his Indian and give him what he wants...). Little Bull is a bossy little Indian who frustrated me at times. Nev ...more
Madeline
What a great book!

I know a 6 year old boy would really enjoy this. I think I'll buy him a copy.
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Ensiform
Jun 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: magic, fiction
Omri (the three brothers in this book all have bizarre names) is gifted an old medicine cabinet, and then a key handed down from his great-grandmother in Italy. When he locks plastic toys in the cupboard, they come to life! The "Indian" of the title is Little Bear, the son of an Iroquois chief, who proves to be a demanding and imposing presence, despite his tiny size. Omri learns quickly that Little Bear is a living, breathing person with his own language, desires, and pride, not just a talking ...more
Rachel
Jun 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my absolute favorite books of all time. I loved it as a kid and I love it now. I hadn't read it in more than a decade, but I pulled it out to read aloud to my kids, and they loved it too, especially my daughters.

Omri's friend Patrick gives him a little plastic Indian for his birthday. Omri's brother gives him an old cupboard he found in the alley. Omri's mother finds him an old, old key that fits the lock on the cupboard, and he's delighted because now he has a place to put things
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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
Emy
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
...more
Ana
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
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10 2 12 Jul 12, 2018 09:48AM  
Different names for characters? 10 170 Jul 01, 2018 03:56PM  
101 Books to Read...: The Indian in the Cupboard (Indian in the Cupboard 01) 1 3 Nov 04, 2017 10:49AM  
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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
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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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  Tami Charles is a former teacher and the author of picture books, middle grade and young adult novels, and nonfiction. As a teacher, she made...
45 likes · 65 comments
“the fun of keeping things in them. He was not a very tidy boy in general, but he did like arranging things in cupboards and drawers and then opening them later and finding them just as he’d left them.” 3 likes
“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
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