No list of my children's favorite books would be complete without Lynn Reid Banks's, The Indian in the Cupboard. The series originally came out in the 80's, but somehow I missed it as a child. Fortunately K-boy and I found it at the library when he was five. We loved it immediately and read the entire series during the summer before he started kindergarten.
Now D-boy is five and M-girl is eight and we've just begun reading the series aloud together. They were hooked by the first chapter, and even K-boy is drawn to listen again. Banks wove a magical tale that is as appealing for kids of today as it was for children thirty years ago.
The story begins in the first book, The Indian in the Cupboard. A young, English boy, Omri, receives both a second-hand bathroom cupboard and a plastic Indian figure for his birthday. After finding an antique key that fits in the cupboard, he stumbles on an amazing secret. The cabinet somehow brings plastic toys to life. He soon realizes that his little Indian, Little Bear, is actually a real person magically transported through time and space.
Omri, at first overjoyed at the thought of a living toy, quickly feels the burden of responsibility for another person. He and Little Bear form an unlikely but solid friendship. In the end Omri is compelled to suffer the pain of loss for the sake of his friend.
The Indian in the Cupboard offers a satisfyingly deep plot in a children's book. There is joy, love, pain, heartache, and even death. Any parent that wants to expose their child to great literature should get them this book.