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The Mystery of the Cupboard

The Mystery of the Cupboard

4.6 5
by Lynne Reid Banks, Tom Newsom (Illustrator)

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In the fourth book in Bank's acclaimed INDIAN IN THE CUPBOARD saga, Omri and his family move to an old farmhouse, where he finds an ancient notebook that reveals a family secret-and the mysterious origins of his magical cupboard.


In the fourth book in Bank's acclaimed INDIAN IN THE CUPBOARD saga, Omri and his family move to an old farmhouse, where he finds an ancient notebook that reveals a family secret-and the mysterious origins of his magical cupboard.

Editorial Reviews

New York Times
A stunning, full-blown tale within a tale.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this latest installment in the award-winning Indian in the Cupboard series, Omri's fascination with the little people of the cupboard has matured into an obsession with discovering the origin of their life-giving magic. With the help of his great-aunt's hidden diary and a meeting with an elderly roof-thatcher, Omri is able to piece together his own family's history--one that gave rise to the wondrous events of the last few years. In the process he takes a big risk in allowing the secret to be disclosed to an adult. Relying much less on the sheer derring-do typical of earlier episodes, Banks takes an introspective turn here, weaving a more adult story of disappointment and heartbreak into Omri's ever-widening understanding of the cupboard's mystery. Banks's series has grown up, and though some readers may miss the magical Peter Pan-like world of earlier installments, these rich, well-rounded characters speak eloquently and entertainingly within a polished mystery structure. While observing the parameters of a series, Banks demonstrates an impressive versatility, never swerving from her trademark disarming candor and unaffected yet elegant style. Illustrations not seen by PW . Ages 10-up. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
Omri learned early on that you can't tinker with the past without changing all that happens in the present. Yet, when he discovers a wrong that was done to his great-great aunt, he tries to rectify things. Banks has written a compelling and dramatic story in this the 4th in the "Indian in the Cupboard" series. A new cast of characters, some of whom are Omri's relatives, add interest and liveliness to the World War I time period. They are affected by the mores and attitudes of their day and the reader learns why the cupboard has magical powers. 1995 (orig.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6--Indian in the Cupboard (Doubleday, 1985) fans, rejoice! Here's another in the series, and it will appeal most to those familiar with the characters and events in the earlier books. When a distant relative dies, leaving Omri's mother an old farmhouse, the whole family moves to the country. As old thatch is removed in preparation for reroofing, Omri finds a notebook written by ``wicked'' great-great-Aunt Jessica as she lay dying, which reveals the secret of the cupboard, and how and why it, and its magic, came into being. New little people are introduced, and once again, Omri learns the folly--and danger--of playing with people's lives. Little Bear and Bright Stars, main characters from the previous books, make their appearance only on the last page, when the boy's father is let in on the secret. ``From now on, thought Omri, whatever happens--and plenty will--Dad's in on it. Which is bound to make things . . . very, very complicated.'' One has to wonder if he will allow the adventures to continue. --Li Stark, North Castle Public Library, Armonk, NY

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Indian in the Cupboard
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.21(w) x 7.75(h) x 0.59(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The Longhouse

"But Mum, I don't want to move house again!"

Omri's mother stared at him with her mouth slightly ajar. She turned away for a moment as if she simply couldn't think of a thing to say, and then swiftly turned back.

"Omri, you know what, you're incredible. Ever since we moved here you've done nothing but moan. You hated the district, you hated the street, you hated the house —"

"I never said I hated the house! I like the house. I love the garden. Anyway, even if I did hate it, I wouldn't want to move. All that packing and general hassle last time, it was awful! Why do we have to move again?"

"Listen, darling. You remember the freak storm?" Omri stared at her. Remember it? Could anyone who'd survived it possibly ever forget it?

"Stupid me, of course you do, I only meant well, it wrecked the greenhouse —"

"It wrecked my room —"

"The chimney fell off, the roof had to be —"

"But Mum, that was all months ago. It's all been mended, pretty well."

"At vast cost," put in his father, who was sitting at the breakfast-room table writing out a description of their house. It was coming home unexpectedly early and catching his father on the phone to an estate agent that had tipped Omri off that his parents were thinking about selling and moving.

"Yes, and now with a new roof and everything, it's a good time to sell. Besides, Dad really hates living in town."

Now it was Omri's turn to have his mouth hang open.

"You mean we're not going to live in London?"

"No. We're going to live in the country.."

Omri sat up sharply. "Thecountry!" he almost shouted, as dismayed as if his father had announced they were going to live at the bottom of the sea.

"Yes, dear, the country," said his mother. "That big green place with all the trees — you know, you've seen it through the car window when we've been racing from one hideous town to another."

Omri ignored her sarcasm. "Would it be Kent?" His best friend, Patrick, lived in Kent.


That put the lid on any thoughts that it might not be so bad.

"But — but — are we just moving because of Dad?"

"Certainly not," his father said promptly. "We're also moving because the local high school, which your brothers already go to and which you will, in theory, be starting at in September, is a sink. It's enough that two of my sons come home two days out of five looking as if they've fallen under a bus. It's enough that Gillon's marks are in steady decline. I'm not going to compound my mistake by sending you there too."

But Omri had stopped listening and was halfway to the door.

"Do Adiel and Gillon know?"

"We were going to have a family conference tonight after supper. Only you wrung it out of me," said his father. "And you don't have to go telling them straight away —"

But Omri was already charging up the stairs. At the top he burst into the first room he came to, which was Gillon's.

"We're going to live in the country!" he exploded.

Gillon, who had jumped up guiltily from his bed (where he'd been lying reading a magazine instead of doing homework) because he thought it was a parent, slumped back again and stared at Omri, stunned.

"The country!" he repeated in exactly the same tone as Omri had used. "We can't be! What'll we do there? There's nothing to do in the country, we'll be bored out of our minds!"

But Omri had already vanished and was beating on Adiel's door. Adiel really was doing homework, and had locked his door to keep out intruders.

"Get lost!" he yelled from his desk.

"Ad, listen! Dad's just told me. We're going to live in the country!"

There was a pause, then the bolt was drawn, the door opened, and Adiel's face appeared. He stared at Omri in silence for a few seconds.

"Good," he said maddeningly, and shut the door in his face.

"Are you crazy?" Omri called through the door. Gillon had come out and was standing next to him.

"He said 'good'!" Omri told him indignantly.

"Ask him if he's crazy."

"I just have!"

"Are you crazy?" Gillon shouted through the door at the top of his voice.

"Boys, stop that row, that's enough! Come down and we'll talk about it!" came their father's irritated voice from the foot of the stairs.

Omri and Gillon trailed down and back into the breakfast room. After a few minutes, Adiel, looking studiedly unconcerned, joined them.

"Now then. Listen first, then blow your tops, okay? This house, due to a fluke in the housing market, is suddenly worth a lot of money."

"How much?" said Gillon, for whom money was the most important thing in life.

"A lot more than what we paid for it. Just because it's in London and lots of people, whom I can only regard as totally insane, want to live in London."

"And at the precise moment when we were thinking of selling anyway," put in their mother eagerly, "something really wonderful has happened. I've inherited a lovely house."

"Inherited? Does that mean we get it for nothing?"

"Yes! Isn't it incredible?"

"But what's it like? Have you seen it?"

"Well, er — no, not yet. But it sounds beautiful. Not as big as this one —"

"WHAT!" all the boys — even Adiel — yelled in chorus.

"But that won't matter," put in their father quickly, "because we will not be surrounded on all sides by this stinking, overcrowded, crime-ridden city where you can't snatch a breath of clean air or...

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.

Tom Newsom has illustrated a number of children's books, including I Sailed with Columbus and Seven Stories of Christmas Love. He lives in Larkspur, Colorado.

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Mystery of the Cupboard 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
InTheBookcase More than 1 year ago
Now THIS is how an author is supposed to write an epicly twisted tale that the reader just can't get enough of. Omri continues his adventures with his plastic-come-to-life friends in "The Mystery of the Cupboard". There are so many individual elements that had to come together throughout time to create the story of "The Indian in the Cupboard" as we know it. This book pieces the puzzling history together in a fantastic and almost unbelievable way. But once you read it, you'll realize there truly was no other way that such a magical thing could happen. Plus, the ending is FABULOUS. Next up, I cannot wait to read the 5th and final book in the saga.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My husband read "The Indian in the Cupboard" aloud to our grandchildren and myself several years ago. We all loved it and have read all the "Indian" books since. They are very exciting and riveting. Like potato chips (you can"t eat just one!) more than one chapter is demanded at a sitting because it is too thrilling to put down. What's going to happen next....?. We were sorry when we had finished them all and there were no more to look forward to! But we did enjoy them thoroughly.
Marc15 More than 1 year ago
ok was ok ,but i think there should have been more to it. it ended with something sad and then it kept you hanging waiting for the next book. On the bright side the book was sort of better than the other ones. i think you should read the whole series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a got to read book! (best for 3rd & 4th grades)