The Return of the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks

The Return of the Indian by Lynne Reid Banks This is the second book in The Indian in the Cupboard series. The first three books in this series have a lower Mom-Meter safety rating than the last two books in this series. Parents should be aware that the first book can stand alone, but as the rest of the series progresses, kids will want to finish the entire series. The books gradually deal more with magic and weighty moral dilemmas. The message of the books as a series is that it is dangerous to have power over another person’s life, and that our actions can dramatically affect future generations. You can read my review of the first book here, the third book here, the fourth book here, and the fifth book here

My Mom-Meter for this particular book is a safety rating of 2 (Moderately Safe) for ages 9 & and up.

Wikipedia has thorough plot summaries of the books in this series here.

Here are the potential moral issues parents might wish to talk with their kids about:

  • Omri’s family has moved to a not-as-nice part of London, and he faces bullies, “skinheads,” on his way to school every day.
  • Omri writes out what happened to him in The Indian in the Cupboard and he enters that story in a fiction contest. He has some moral qualms about claiming the story is fiction. Potential discussion point: does the truth matter, since no one would really believe Omri’s story anyway?
  • Omri gives into temptation and bring Little Bear back, using his power because he is lonely. Potential discussion point: was that a wise use of power?
  • Omri and his friend, Patrick, get lots of Indian braves and give them guns to fight for Little Bear’s village. Most of the braves end up killing each other because they don’t know how to handle the guns. Potential discussion point: was that a wise use of power? How did their decision to help their friend affect other people’s lives?
  • Little Bear’s wife has a baby, but all that is described is that she needs a knife and some water. A cowboy named Boone helps her deliver the baby.
  • Boone, the cowboy, asks for “likkur” or whiskey, and Omri steals some Scotch from his parents’ liquor cabinet.
  • Omri ends up seeing the battle where the braves were killed, and it disturbs him. He is severely burned in that battle.
  • The gang of bullies breaks into Omri’s home while his parents are away, and start stealing. One of the bullies decides to urinate on the bed. Potential discussion point: what should you do if you are home when someone tries to break into our home?
  • Omri has an army of modern army men attack the bullies with their tiny guns, and scare the bullies away. Potential discussion point: was that a wise use of power?
  • Omri and Patrick have to tell a lot of lies to hide the truth about the cupboard and why Omri was so badly burned. Potential discussion point: why did Omri decide to lie? What probably would have happened if he just told the truth to his parents?

From a kid’s perspective: “I think kids 8-11 who like cowboys, Indians, magic, and time travel will like it. I give this book 2 and three quarters of a star out of 5 stars.”

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  1. […] affect future generations. You can read my review of the first book here, the second book here, the third book here, and the fifth book […]

  2. […] our actions can dramatically affect future generations. You can read my review of the second book here, the third book here, the fourth book here, and the fifth […]

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