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

3.9  ·  Rating details ·  85,870 Ratings  ·  1,935 Reviews
Full of magic and appealing characters, this classic novel takes readers on a remarkable adventure.

It's Omri's birthday, but all he gets from his best friend, Patrick, is a little plastic Indian brave. Trying to hide his disappointment, Omri puts the Indian in a metal cupboard and locks the door with a mysterious skeleton key that once belonged to his great-grandmother. Li
Paperback, 240 pages
Published February 9th 2010 by Yearling (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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Nov 21, 2011 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 I can see where they're coming from, starting with the outdated term Indian, as opposed to Native American (or Iroquois, in this case).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
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
Urmi  ✨BookishPixieOfForbiddenForest✨
I don't know how and why I forgot about this book... It's really haunting the hell outta me!!! Thanks *Alaina* for reviewing this book...Cuz, if you didn't, I would have completely forgotten about it 😅😅.

This book has every child's dream – your toys can come to life! Unlike in modern versions of this idea this book stands out because the main character, a boy called Omri who discovers the way to bring toys to life. Isn't that crazy! Though I'm not a toy fan, but still I loved the concept...The bo
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Alaina Meserole
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
Kacey Powell
Oct 13, 2007 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.
Oct 05, 2009 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
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
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
D.M. Dutcher
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shanna Gonzalez
Jul 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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 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 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.
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.
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
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
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
Apr 30, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 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).
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
Matt Street
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My family always told me that my great-grandma was 100% Choctaw — I live in Oklahoma, so this seemed quite plausible — but I took a 23andMe last year, and it turns out I'm .02% Native at best. I liked this book a lot more when I was 35 and thought the action figure character was my kind, but it still holds a special place in my heart. 5 stars!
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My kids and I read this book aloud together. It is getting a little more difficult to find books that we can read together that everyone can read and will hold everyone’s attention. This was definitely a good choice. All three kids are ready to check out the second book from the library! This was a fun book that I had never read before, so I also enjoyed the magic contained in its pages!
I read this whole series as a child and it was fun to read it with my girls, although I did have to edit some questionable parts as I read-aloud.
Brook G
Mar 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
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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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