Mystery of the Cupboard

Mystery of the Cupboard

4.5 4
by Lynne Reid Banks, Tom Newsom
     
 

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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.See more details below

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Overview

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

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780380720132
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
02/28/1994
Series:
Indian in the Cupboard
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
118,817
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.

"No."

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...

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