The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
What could be better than a magic cupboard that turns small toys into living creatures? Omri's big brother has no birthday present for him, so he gives Omri an old medicine cabinet he's found. Although their mother supplies a key, the cabinet still doesn't seem like much of a present. But when an exhausted Omri dumps a plastic toy Indian into the cabinet just before falling asleep, the magic begins. Turn the key once and the toy comes alive; turn it a second time and it's an action figure again.
I studied this as a child in about Year 5 and I just re-read it last week because a distance memory of it sprung to mind one day. I suppose my motivation was also a light read to jump start my near dead reading habits. It did exactly what I wanted. The narrative achieved its purpose of giving me enough conflict/suspense to keep turning the pages. I know that it is definitely below my reading abilities and feel a bit guilty for reading a children's book. However, it served the purpose and has interested me in reading again (and again!?). Since it was such a quick read I get the immediate gratification of saying I've read an entire book.
It's a fantasy by an author with a great imagination. I love it for the vocabulary (wielded, lithely, haughtily) and equally, for the well-defined characters. I also liked the book as a commentary on real life. I enjoyed seeing the growth in the main character as he learned to be a responsible person. The contrast with his best friend helped to remind me how different children are from adults. I am definitely brushing over the cons of this story, such as the extreme stereotypes within it, but then again, it's not my intention to study it all over again.
I'm going to indulge in watching the 1995 film version this week. I'll add a brief break down of that at some point.