While on vacation recently, I read all the books that I took with me, so I went out and purchased four children’s books that I have been longing to read for a good while, including this one.
Two of the presents that Omri received for his birthday were a small plastic Indian from his friend Patrick and an old medicine cupboard that his brother Gillon had found in the alley. Omri put the Indian inside the cupboard that night, and when he opened it the next morning, the Indian was alive! Or at least it was replaced by a live Indian from the past. The little Indian becomes Omri’s most important secret, both precious and dangerous. How can he provide for his needs? Should he tell anyone else? And, finally, will he keep the live Indian or send him back to his own time?
Obviously, this book is fantasy, but it is well written and makes an enjoyable read for middle school age children. Caveats include a few euphemisms (goldarned, tarnation, danged, and especially heck), the occasional use of “O my God” as an interjection, and references to smoking tobacco and drinking “likker” or “hard stuff.” One of my biggest objections was the amount of arguing, bad temper, hitting, and other meanness in Omri’s family, probably to portray what the author thought “normal” families were like, although it is never really justified but merely presented as fact. Also, there are some instances where Omri tells a “little” lie, so there is some room for discussion on this subject. Otherwise, this is a very interesting and imaginative story.