Review: The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks

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…

The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks. Illustrations by Brock Cole. Book # 1 in the Indian in the Cupboard series. My edition is a hardback, large print edition from the Library, 213 pages. Published by Doubleday, 1988. This is my 2nd time reading this book. I originally read this in the early 90s when I was in elementary school.

I’ll be honest, I was a little wary when I went to re-read this story. I was afraid it was going to be horribly racist by 2019 standards. Looking at some other people’s reviews, more then a few of them thought it was an extremely racist book. I don’t necessarily feel that this was uber racist. There are some stereotypes for sure, for the Native American AND the cowboy… mostly with the way they both talked. I think people might have been a little too quick to jump on this book for being racist. You know how sometimes, society thinks that just because it’s an older era, that everyone from that time must not have been as smart or “good” as we are in our current era? I felt like it was more that sort of thing going on. Also, the whole message of this book was about being ignorant of a certain type or types of person/ people and then learning about them, their culture, and realizing that you are all the same. We are all human and that we can all get along. That ALL life is important. That message feels kind of not racist to me and something that we can still learn from.

I was much more messed up how Omri had this little life in his hands, but it took him such a long time before he sent the little people back to their own time. Instead he wanted to keep it like a pet. But this, too, was a good message to pass on. Sometimes, we may want something so bad, but we aren’t ready for that responsibility or maybe that it’s just not ours to own. All ages can learn from that… whether you think you are ready for a goldfish, a house plant, or having a baby. Or a toy that comes to life.

Ok, so maybe not PC according to the 2000s, but still a very entertaining, quick book to read. The message in the story still holds up. I found the whole idea about a cupboard bringing things to life so fascinating. I was extremely curious about the hows and the whys behind what was going on. Unfortunately the author doesn’t go very much into the why in this book. That was a little bit frustrating. Apparently that is saved for later in the series. I think when I was little, I also read the second book. I’ve never read the whole series though. I wouldn’t say no to reading the rest of it at some point and find out what all was going on with the magic in this story.

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