The Secret of the Indian

by Lynne Reid Banks

Other authorsTed Lewin (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 1989



Call number




An Avon Camelot Book (1989), 149 pages


In this third book about Omri and his magic cupboard, Omri and his friend Patrick must risk grownups' discovering their secret when they find themselves in need of a friend's toy plastic doctors to save wounded people from the dangerous world of the Old West which the cupboard enables them to enter.

Media reviews

… As with all the books in this series, Omri is presented as the powerful controller who determines the fate of the Indian characters, who must look to Omri for all their needs. Stereotypical language is pervasive in the book, such as when Little Bull says, "Omri wake! Day come! Much need do!."

User reviews

LibraryThing member loafhunter13
-In this sequel to The Indian in the Cupboard and The Return of the Indian, Omri and Patrick are hailed as heroes after they ward off a burglary by a gang of hoodlums. Luckily for the boys, none of the adults take much notice of the miniature bullet holes in the walls, and with the secret of the
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magic cupboard intact, they are free to secure medical aid for Little Bear's band of wounded Indian braves. During the melee, Patrick finds a way to send himself back in time to the Wild West, and brings back not only cowboy Boone's girlfriend Ruby Lou for a miniature wedding, but a tag-along cyclone that almost destroys the city. Though the story will delight readers with the same richness of character and deft storytelling as its predecessors, the action scenes and cupboard time-travel sometimes stumble in an effort to top one another, obscuring the simple wonder and detail that distinguished The Indian in the Cupboard. For all the action, the pacing of this book is slowed down because of the several shifts in point of view and time. For example, as the tension builds over what to do about Little Bear's wounded comrades, the story switches to Patrick, who is coping with life in Boone's Wild West. The cyclone from Boone's time is a too convenient deus ex machina that drives all thoughts of ``little people'' from the adults' minds and causes enough confusion and damage to let the boys cover their tracks and protect their friends from the past. Not as tightly plotted as the earlier books and it does not grow up with its readers. Rereading at a late may produce many wholes such as the ethics of ripping people from their own time to keep as pets and meddling with history. Still it is a children’s’ book, albeit with several themes that American parents might not be fond of disclosing at this point. Good for children with imagination.
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LibraryThing member wichitafriendsschool
No one would imagine that plastic toy figures could be brought to life by a magic cupboard. Best friends, Omri and Patrick, made the discovery, though. Their adventures with Little Bear and "Boo-Hoo" Boone, who lived in the dangerous Texas Old West, are fun, exciting and dangerous.
LibraryThing member SandyAMcPherson
I'm re-reading these as an adult with no small listener to be enthralled. So the feel is different. While I hugely enjoyed Book 1 (and didn't find a copy of book 2, so far), this story is not as smooth and delightful. The time-travel aspects seem disjointed and the basic "magic" of the cupboard
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seems a bit lost. As an adult, I had difficulty enjoying the idea of bringing an entity of the past into such a strange future. Despite these misgivings, the younger reader/listener will probably find the adventure quite thrilling.
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LibraryThing member Smokler
Too much plot, too little Little Bear yet the characters and soul of the Indian and the Cupboard series are irresistible. I know there only four. I would gladly read twenty.


Great Stone Face Book Award (Winner — 1991)
Nēnē Award (Nominee — 1993, 1994)


Original language


Original publication date



0380710404 / 9780380710409
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