Cover image for The secret of the Indian
The secret of the Indian
Banks, Lynne Reid, 1929-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Doubleday, 1989.
Physical Description:
147 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
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.
Reading Level:
870 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.2 5.0 5044.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 6.1 8 Quiz: 10160 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
X Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
FICTION Juvenile Fiction Classics
FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



As his adventures with Little Bear continue, Omri travels from the French and Indian wars to the present, and then  back to the Old West at the tum-of-the-century.

Author Notes

Lynne Reid Banks was born in London, England on July I929. After studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, she acted and wrote for the repertory stage.Eventually, she turned to journalism, becoming one of Britain's first female television news reporters. Banks was fired from her job as a reporter, and while working a different job, she wrote her first novel, which went on to become a best seller.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 4-6. This sequel to The Indian in the Cupboard and The Return of the Indian, follows so closely on the heels of its predecessor that it could be labeled a continuation. At the end of Return, friends Omri and Patrick wonder how to explain to Omri's parents the weird property damage resulting from the all-out battle that occurred when some tiny figures (brought to life in Omri's magic cupboard) built fires, waged war, and fought off the malevolent neighborhood skinheads. At the beginning of Secret the parents return, and unlikely explanations ensue. Soon Patrick uses the magic to travel back in time to the Old West, where as a tiny figure he makes his way by his wits and the help of friends. He returns, bringing a tornado with him, which devastates part of southeast England, causing Omri to decide, tentatively, to have the magic key locked up in a bank vault for safety, as a dubious inheritance for his children. Readers unfamiliar with the first two books will find the third confusing, despite the interwoven explanations. However, the many who have enjoyed the Indian books will want to follow these exciting escapades as well. While not as well plotted as its predecessors, this story nevertheless displays Banks' own magical gift for creating sympathetic characters, believable elements of fantasy, and an irresistible narrative flow. --Carolyn Phelan

Publisher's Weekly Review

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 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. Still, this fantasy-adventure is gracefully enhanced by a powerful concern for the care of all human beings, no matter how small. Ages 7-12. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-6-- It takes a cyclone to bring things to an acceptable conclusion for Omri, his friend Patrick, and the plastic figures turned into people from the past who inhabit Omri's room with the help of magic key and a special cupboard. Readers of The Indian in the Cupboard (1985) and Return of the Indian (1986, both Doubleday) will want to know what happens, especially to Little Bear; his wife, Bright Stars; Boone, the softhearted cowboy who still likes his ``likker''; and the indefatigable nurse, Matron. The action picks up where The Return of the Indian ended. A tiny army has frightened away the ``skinheads'' who tried to rob Omri's house. The boys are left to explain to Omri's parents the tiny bullet holes and other damage. Complications multiply when Patrick is sent back to Boone's time, Omri's school principal tumbles into the secret, and Boone and his girlfriend are stuck in the present. 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. Although not as tightly plotted as the earlier books, fans will want to read the conclusion of this popular, well-written series. --Amy Kellman, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



1   A Shocking Homecoming     When Omri's parents drove home from their party, his mother got out in front of the house while his father drove around the side to put the car away. The front-door key was on the same key ring with the car key, so his mother came up the steps and rangthe bell. She expected the baby-sitter to answer.   There was a lengthy pause, and then the door opened, and there was Omri, with Patrick just behind him. The light was behind him too, so she didn't see him clearly at first.   "Good heavens, are you boys still up? You should have been in bed hours ag--"   Then she stopped. Her mouth fell open and her face drained of color.   "Omri! What--what--what's happened to your face?"   She could hardly speak properly, and that was when Omri realized that he wasn't going to get away with it so easily this time. This time he was either going to have to lie like mad or he was going to have to tell far more than he had ever intended aboutthe Indian, the key, the cupboard, and all the rest of it.     He and Patrick had talked about it, frantically, before his parents returned.   "How are you going to explain the burn on your head?" Patrick asked.   "I don't know. That's the one thing I can't explain."   "No, it's not. What about all the little bullet holes and stuff in your parents' bedroom?"   Omri's face was furrowed, even though every time he frowned, it hurt his burn.   "Maybe they won't notice. They both need glasses. Do you think we should clear everything up in there?"   Patrick had said, "No, better leave it. After all, they've got to know about the burglars. Maybe in all the fuss about that, they won't notice your face and a few other things."   "How shall we explain how we got rid of them--the burglars, I mean?"   "We could just say we burst in through the bathroom and scared them away."   Omri had grinned lopsidedly. "That makes us out to be heroes."   "So what's so bad about that? Anyway it's better than telling about them." Patrick, who had once been quite keen to tell "about them," now realized perfectly clearly that this was about the worst thing that could happen.   "But where is the wretched baby-sitter? Why didn't she come? How dare she not turn up when she promised?"   Omri's father was stamping up and down the living room in a fury. His mother, meanwhile, was holding Omri around the shoulders. He could feel her hand cold and shaking right through his shirt. After her first shocked outburst when she'd come home and seen him, she'd said very little. His father, on the other hand, couldn't seem to stop talking.   "You can't depend on anyone! Where the hell are the police? I called them hours ago!" (It was five minutes, in fact.) "One would think we lived on some remote island instead of in London, the biggest city in the world! You pay their salaries and when youneed the police, they're never there, never!"   He paused in his pacing and gazed around wildly. The boys had put the television back and there wasn't much disorder in this room. Upstairs, they knew, chaos and endless unanswerable questions waited.   "Tell me again what happened."   "There were burglars, Dad," Omri said patiently. (This part was safe enough.) "Three of them. They came in through that window--"   "How many times have I said we ought to have locks fitted? Idiot that I am!--for the sake of a few lousy pounds--go on, go on--"   "Well, I was asleep in here--"   "In the living room? Why?"   "I--er--I just was. And I woke up and saw them, but they didn't see me. So I nipped upstairs and--"   His father, desperate to hear the story, was still too agitated to listen to more than a sentence of it without interrupting.   "And where were you, Patrick?"   Patrick glanced at Omri for guidance. Omri shrugged very slightly with his eyebrows. He didn't know himself how much to say and what to keep quiet about.   "I was--in Omri's room. Asleep."   "All right, all right! Then what?"   "Er--well, Omri came up, and woke me, and said there were burglars in the house, and that we ought to . . . er--" He stopped.   "Well?" barked Omri's father impatiently.   "Well . . . stop them."   Omri's father turned back to Omri. "Stop them? Three grown men? How could you stop them? You should have locked your bedroom door and let them get on with it!"  "They were nicking our TV and stuff!"   "So what? Don't you know the sort of people they are? They could have hurt you seriously--"   "They did hurt him seriously!" interrupted Omri's mother in a shrill voice. "Look at him! Never mind the interrogation now, Lionel. I wish you'd go and phone Basia and find out why she didn't come, and let me take Omri upstairs and look after him."   So Omri's father returned to the hall to phone the baby-sitter while his mother led Omri upstairs. But when she switched the bathroom light on and looked at him properly, she let out a gasp.   "But that's a burn, Omri! How--how did they do that to you?"   And Omri had to say, "They didn't do it, Mum. Not that. That was something else." She stared at him in horror, and then controlled herself and said as calmly as she could, "All right, never mind now. Just sit down on the edge of the bath and let me deal with it."   And while she was putting on the ointment with her cold, shaky hands, his father came stamping up the stairs to say there was no reply from their baby-sitter's number.   "How could she not come?" he stormed. "How could she leave you boys alone here? Of all the criminally irresponsible--wait till I get hold of her--"   "What about us?" asked Omri's mother very quietly, winding a bandage around Omri's head.   "Us?"   "Us. Going out to our party before she got here."   "Well--well--but we trusted her! Thought she was just a few minutes late--" But his voice petered out, and he stopped stamping about and went into their bedroom to take off his coat.   Omri heard the light being switched on, and he bit his lips in suspense.   "Am I hurting, darling?"   He had no time to shake his head before his father burst back in.   "What in God's sweet name has been going on in our bedroom?"   Patrick, who was hanging about in the doorway to the bathroom, exchanged a grim look with Omri.   "Well, Dad--that's--that's where the battle--I mean, that's where they were, when we--caught them."   "Battle! That's just what it looks like, is a battlefield! Jane, come in here and look--"   Omri's mother left him sitting on the bath and went through into the bedroom. Omri and Patrick, numb and speechless with suspense, could hear them exchanging gasps and exclamations of amazement and dismay.   Then both his parents reappeared. Their faces had changed.   "Omri. Patrick . . . I think we'd better hear the whole story before the police arrive. Come in here."   Excerpted from The Secret of the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.