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Key to the Indian

Key to the Indian

4.3 6
by Lynne Reid Banks, James Watling (Illustrator)

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He felt a draft of cold air. Instinctively he put his arms around his body. Then he looked down at himself and got a shock. He was naked...His first instinct was to hid. he scrambled over the earth floor of the longhouse and ducked under the curtain. Beyond was deeper darkness, but he could make out a sort of room with a raised section against the wall. On this was a


He felt a draft of cold air. Instinctively he put his arms around his body. Then he looked down at himself and got a shock. He was naked...His first instinct was to hid. he scrambled over the earth floor of the longhouse and ducked under the curtain. Beyond was deeper darkness, but he could make out a sort of room with a raised section against the wall. On this was a mountain range covered with fur, in the shape of a sleeping giant.

Omri stared all around, feeling the beginnings of panic. "Dad!" he whispered as loudly as he dared...

There was no answer. Omri felt intensely vulnerable with no clothes on. Cold air embraced his skin from head to foot. He felt a sudden longing to go home. He hadn't reckoned on this--being separated from his dad, it being so dark and cold, so strange, so lonely.

Editorial Reviews

. . .[O]ne of those magical children's books that is sure to delight. . . .filled with conflict after conflict. . .sure to amaze even the most imaginative child.
USA Today
Boston Globe
Full of suspense, excitement, humor, and fantasy.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Only die-hard fans will want to enter this fifth series installment of the adventures that began with The Indian in the Cupboard. Newcomers will find it too confusing to penetrate (the artful little synopses at the beginning notwithstanding) and casual admirers of the series may decide that Banks has finally stretched her premise too thin. Now that Omri's father is privy to the time-traveling secrets of Omri's cupboard and to the magic that brings his toys to life, he eagerly joins Omri on life-threatening adventures and keeps their activities a secret from the rest of the family. He wants to help Omri keep their promise to the Indian toy-cum-18th-century-Mohawk-chief Little Bear to help lead his tribe to safety in the face of threats from the treacherous English. First, however, they have to solve various logistical problems--like getting another magic key to the past. Banks strews the plot with red herrings and dead ends, and the most interesting questions--namely, how to help Little Bear--are watered down with easily solved dilemmas (e.g., Dad is worried about the effects of tampering with the past, but all he finally has to do is read up on Mohawk history and tell Little Bear the best alternative). A few other 11th-hour disclosures suggest an end to the series; indeed, this soil has been farmed too long. Ages 8-12. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Gisela Jernigan
In this fourth sequel to the popular Indian in the Cupboard, Omni, his dad, and sometimes Gillon and Patrick, have exciting and scary adventures in early 20th century India, as well as in the 1700s. They try to help Little Bear and his Iroquois band in their struggle with newly independent Americans. Although well written and suspenseful, this fantasy novel might seem rather confusing to readers unfamiliar with the previous books. As in the other novels, the author seems to be sympathetic to Iroquois history and culture, but is not always accurate. In addition, many Native Americans find Little Bear's stilted "bad western movie" type of speech offensive.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-This fifth installment (Avon, 1998) continues Lynne Reid Banks' popular Indian in the Cupboard series. In this time travel adventure, Omri and his father work together to help Little Bear and the Iroquois against the threats of the British. The story extends knowledge of the cupboard and introduces a new key. Fans of the series will welcome this reading by the author. Banks' narration does not follow the American text exactly, but this does not detract from a quality listening experience. She has a charming British accent and a pleasant reading tone. The cassette box jacket needs a correction, as it mentions "Little Bull" as opposed to "Little Bear." Libraries with an audience for the previous titles in the series will want to include this recording.-Kathy Husband, Jefferson County Public Library, CO Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Indian in the Cupboard
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
7.64(w) x 5.06(h) x 0.63(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Anyone for Camping?

"Okay, you chaps, I've got an announcement to make." The three boys stopped eating and looked up. Adiel and Gillon exchanged puzzled glances. It was the "you chaps" that did it, together with their father's hail-fellow-well-met manner. He simply was not the "you chaps" type. But stranger was to come.

"What would you say to us all going camping?"

Adiel dropped his jaw. Gillon dropped something noisier, his knife and fork onto his plate. A piece of toad-in-the-hole was dislodged and fell to the floor in a small shower of rich brown gravy.

"Oh, Gillon, don't show off! What a mess!" said their mother, irritated. "Kitsa! Leave it!" — as the cat, lurking hopefully under the table, pounced. Gillon wrested it from her and plonked it triumphantly back on his plate. "You're not planning to Eat it now?" She snatched it up and left the room with it, returning at once with a wet cloth. "What are you talking about, Lionel, camping?"

"Camping is what I'm talking about. What do you say, boys?"

Adiel said, quite gently, "Are you feeling all right, Dad?"

"Never better."

"Camping? I mean, are you kidding? Camping? You mean, on our own, without you?"

"No, no, of course not. With me."

There was a silence. Omri glanced at his mother. She had mopped up the splashes of gravy and was crouched beside Gillon, just her face showing above the tabletop as if her head had been cut off like John the Baptist's and stood among the dishes.This disquieting impression was aided by the glassiness of her eyes as she stared at her husband. The two older boys were staring, too.

Only Omri was not reacting with astonishment. He sat with narrowed eyes, only pausing for a moment before hacking into another batter-encrusted sausage. Camping indeed! That'd be the day when his dad even dreamt of such a hearty outdoor pursuit, especially after the one and only time they'd ever tried it, which had ended in total disaster on the same day it began.

Omri grinned secretly at the memory of the four of them trailing home, not from some wild moorland or forest but from the local common, after they had failed to put up the tent and the skies had opened, drenching everything including the food; this had been left exposed after Gillon nicked a premature sandwich out of the cooler and left the lid off. The sunroof on the car had also been left open....Their dad, humiliated by his defeat-by-tent, couldn't say much except, "That's it,boys. Home." Their mother had been very nice — she hadn't even laughed, at least not much. It was only later Omri had stopped to wonder why there had been a casserole and five baked potatoes in the oven when she had been told they wouldn't be back for two days.

Now there his dad was at the head of the table, beaming at them, the very picture of a hearty, extrovert father. He was even tilting his chair back and rubbing his hands. Gillon snorted.

The front legs of their dad's chair hit the floor. "What, may I ask, is so funny?"

"You, Dad. Camping. You're not serious — you can't be.

"Don't you want to go, then?"

Gillon considered it. Then he said, "Would it be like last time?"

"Of course not," said their father haughtily. "That was just play-camping. You're older now and we'll do it properly — we can, now we live in the country."

Adiel said, "But when could we do it?"

"How could you do it?" said their mother. "You'd need a tent big enough for four, a stove, sleeping bags, and God knows what."

"We've got sleeping bags from school trips," said Adiel.

"We could buy lots of new stuff!" said Gillon.

"Anyway, where would you go?"

"From here? There are wonderful camping places in almost every, direction! We wouldn't have to fall back on some suburban common."

Omri looked out of the window. It was true. All around them stretched the glorious Dorset countryside. Hills, woods, fields, rivers — and the sea, only a few miles away. It might be fun. The only thing was, there was something behind this. Omri knew, somehow, that this wasn't really about camping. That their father had a hidden agenda.

It had to be something to do with the Indian.

Only two days ago, his dad had found out.

When the family had first moved into this old Dorset farmhouse, Omri had made some makeshift shelves in his bedroom out of raw planks standing on loose bricks. In the hollows of two of these bricks, Omri had hidden his most precious possessions — the plastic figures of his friends: Little Bear, his wife Bright Stars, their baby Tall Bear, and, separately, Matron and Sergeant Fickits. They were toys now, but they hadn't always been toys. Through the fantastic magic of an old bathroom cupboard and a key that had belonged to his great-great-aunt and then to his mother, they had come to life. They'd turned into real people, people from the past whom the magic of the cupboard and the key had brought into Omri's life at various times in the last few years.

How carefully Omri had guarded his secret, and how hard it had been to keep from telling anyone! With the two people who already knew — his best friend, Patrick, and Patrick's cousin Emma — living miles away, there was no one to share it with. He dared not tell his brothers, though there'd been times when it had almost just burst out of him.

Then he'd found the Account, which had changed everything.

The Key to the Indian. Copyright © by Lynne Reid Banks. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Lynne Reid Banks is a bestselling author for both children and adults. She grew up in London and became first an actress and then one of the first woman TV reporters in Britain before turning to writing. She now has more than forty books to her credit. Her classic children's novel, The Indian in the Cupboard, has sold more than ten million copies worldwide and was made into a popular feature film. Lynne lives with her husband in Dorset, England.

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Key to the Indian 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
InTheBookcase More than 1 year ago
The Key to the Indian is the end to a fantastic book series! I don't usually read the fantasy genre, but this is one series I'm glad to have expanded my literary horizons with. The final book ends with Omri attempting to achieve his most challenging adventure yet -- taking multiple people back in time to visit the Mohawk Indians and save his "toy" friend, Little Bear's, tribe. I'm so impressed with how the author brought Omri's parents into the adventure. Most books written for children try to show how much fun the main characters can have while not including their parents. I found the whole story to become more special because of how the adults were involved. Many lessons are learned, secrets are lifted, and history is unveiled. I would recommend this to anyone who likes British books (that is, British books that are about Native Americans!). Sometimes it reads more like a fantasy Western. But hey, I love it! Now that I finished The Indian in the Cupboard books... I just HAVE to find out what else this author writes.
Marc15 More than 1 year ago
Omri is determinedng to help Little bear with all there problems ,but he ends up inthe wrong place and has to do everythiing over again. He asks Patrick to come with, but Patrick doesn't come along I hope you enjoy!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
In the book, Omri's father is exposed to his most precious secret, Little Bear. They try to go back in time to help them in a time of need, and war, but they first had an unexpected trip, while they were trying to figure out how to get back to the 1800's. When they finally do, they experience authentic traditions of the Iriquois, the hatred that white men put upon them, and the stregth to move on. When they return, another member of the family comes out and confesses their knowlege of the plastic indian that comes alive, who could it be?