THE MYSTERY OF THE CUPBOARD by Lynne Reid Banks

THE MYSTERY OF THE CUPBOARD

Age Range: 10 - 13
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 When Omri's family moves to the country house his mother has inherited, he learns the earlier history of the magical cupboard first featured in The Indian in the Cupboard (1980). The house belonged to distant cousin Frederick; in its thatched roof, Omri discovers a manuscript dictated by Frederick's mother, Jessica Charlotte, on her deathbed. A tragedy is revealed: jealous of her sister Maria (Omri's great-great-grandmother), Jessica Charlotte- -music-hall singer, unwed mother, and family outcast--stole a pair of her earrings, unwittingly setting off events that left Maria widowed and impoverished. The cupboard was Jessica Charlotte's; now, when Omri finds her toy figures, he uses it to bring them to life, hoping to avert the tragedy by sending them back to her time--belatedly realizing that this may cancel his own existence. Though the story begins slowly, Banks plots expertly, introducing new figures, bringing in old ones for cameo appearances, and even furthering Omri's nice relationship with his dad. There's not much chance to stereotype Native Americans here, as Banks was charged with earlier, but Jessica Charlotte is certainly a caricature of a music-hall singer; one wonders whether it's reasonable, or merely foolish, to deplore such shorthand in popular fiction. Not the best ``Cupboard'' book, but fans won't want to miss it; with a first printing of 75,000, they won't have to. (Fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-688-12138-1
Page count: 246pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1993




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