Tuesday, 4 April 2017

#1 A book you read in school

#1 A book you read in school 

The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks

This book was what growing up in the 90's felt like - filled with imaginative adventures, mostly made up games, and when books and characters and stories filled every second of the day.

This book was a chance encounter in my schooldays (around fifth or sixth grade) and it was a delightful read, and I enjoyed re-reading it for this challenge.

As always with some of the greatest stories – it involves a little bit of magic. Omri, is given a few ‘interesting’ gifts on his birthday. His friend Patrick gives him a second-hand plastic toy figure of a Native American, his elder brother gives him a small white metal cupboard and his mum helps him find a key that would fit in its keyhole. Putting all these gifts together is when the magic happens. Omri leaves the plastic figurine in the white box and locks it, only to find when he wakes up that the toy has been brought to life. What follows is how Omri starts to understand that Little Bear (that’s the Native American’s name) is a person and not just a toy, though he is really tiny. Little Bear finds himself in a strange situation, but is a very brave and courageous fellow – he wants to build his own house, hunt for his food and is mostly very stoic. He and Omri develop a strong personal bond of mutual trust between them (especially at the time when Omri takes Little Bear to school one day in his pocket).


The wonderful illustrations by Brock Cole also assists in bringing the story to life

This book was a delight then and is a delight now. I still remember how I waited, without success, for my plastic figurines of a karate kid and army man to come alive (thank God they didn’t!). Omri realizes that taking control of another person’s life is not as interesting or fun as he though t it would be, and so he decides to use the cupboard for one last time and send his Little Bear back to where he truly belonged.

This book also taught a few lessons along the way , which I realized only while I was re-reading it , the most prominent of all was when Omri tries to explain frantically to his friend when he doesn't seem to understand the gravity of bringing tiny people to life , "You use them. They're people. You can't use people." A timeless message that echoes true today as it probably did for me then.

This book seems to have had a lot of the right things in just the right amount - magic, reality, friendship, family, loyalty, trust, danger, excitement and imagination. It has been able to retain its appeal after all these years. Thus, my rating of it would be a 5/5. Best read while young!

This book also inspired me to read more about their many tribes, and also to give myself a Native American name - Little Feather or 'Shikoba' ;) Not that any of my id proofs would vouch for that. If you would like to know yours, try this small quiz and find out. Find your Native American name here.

May the Great Spirits blessings guide you! Until the next book then....Tchao!

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