The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks


I read this book as part of the Read Harder Challenge 2016 for the category “read a book originally published in the decade you were born”. To save you keeners looking it up, that was the 80’s.


I wasn’t sure of this category. I’m not normally drawn to older books, I prefer to read contemporary novels. But when I brought out trusty old google to search for books published in the 80’s this came up. I also chose this one because I vaguely remember watching the movie with my parents as a child and wanted to check out the story again.

Remember this?


So The Indian in the Cupboard is based on the idea that a young boy named Omri receives a very old (and unbeknownst to him, magical) cupboard for his birthday. It has a lock and a key which his Mother gives to him and explains is very precious (sentimentally). At first Omri is disappointed with his gifts … until he discovers that any plastic toy locked in the cupboard would come to life!

Enter the Indian. And a horse and cowboy, and Indian Princess and WWI army doctor…

Clearly this story was not written with political correctness in mind!

It takes a while for Omri and the Indian (Little Horse) to understand each other, and for Omri to realize that his toy is no longer just a toy, but a living and breathing being with feelings, needs and fears. He quickly learns to respect Little Bear as another human rather than treat him like his possession or pet. Eventually, Omri seeps to adopt the understanding that Little Bear has travelled from his own place in history because he comes with back-story and the relationships any adult would have (parental, marital, friendships).

I was under the impression that the story took place long ago, in the early 1900’s of England but either the movie was different or my memory faulty, because the plot is set in the second half of twentieth century America.

indian in the cupboard series

I also never realized that this was the first book in a series of five children’s novels. I have a passing desire to read the following novels, mostly because I hate leaving something half finished which it feels like I have, but I doubt I will unless I read them with my own kids one day. Although I enjoyed the story of the Indian in the Cupboard, I had a hard time getting through a very short children’s novels. My best guess is that it is because the writing is too young for me to really become engrossed, even though the events were interesting.

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A Warm Hug

I’ve touched upon the idea of a “book family” or “book friend” in an earlier blog post, but I want to write about it again. If you’ve never heard of this term, it’s the same idea as having a book boyfriend.

I have to deal with panic attacks so when I need a breather from life I escape into one of my favourite series, like the Shadowlands. It feels comforting and safe, like friends enveloping me in a warm hug, and since the vast majority of romance novels always have a great HEA (happily ever after), I don’t worry when bad things are happening to the characters. Most of the time, these are books that I have read so many times, I can pick it up and flip to any page (or % on kindle) and know which scenes have already happened and where I am in the book.

Right now, the best books for me to go to when my anxiety is too close are the Sea Haven series by Christine Feehan, Shadowlands by Cherise Sinclair, and Exquisite series or Submissive’s Wish series by Ann Mayburn. That last author writes darker material though so I have to be careful which scenes I choose, or I start with one of the other authors and then move on to Ann Mayburn to “ease” myself back into the big, bad world.

So to my favourite authors, thanks for being there for me at times when real-life loved ones can’t. Thank for helping me to relax and turn my day around, maybe get something else done in the day. And if nothing else, it helps me calm down for awhile instead of letting my brain whirl itself into a frenzied and desperate state.

If you have a really feel good romance series that helps you feel better from some type of upset, please share! Always happy to find something new to help and maybe some of mine will work for you as well.