Only die-hard fans will want to enter this fifth series installment of the adventures that began with The Indian in the Cupboard. Newcomers will find it too confusing to penetrate (the artful little synopses at the beginning notwithstanding) and casual admirers of the series may decide that Banks has finally stretched her premise too thin. Now that Omri's father is privy to the time-traveling secrets of Omri's cupboard and to the magic that brings his toys to life, he eagerly joins Omri on life-threatening adventures and keeps their activities a secret from the rest of the family. He wants to help Omri keep their promise to the Indian toy-cum-18th-century-Mohawk-chief Little Bear to help lead his tribe to safety in the face of threats from the treacherous English. First, however, they have to solve various logistical problems--like getting another magic key to the past. Banks strews the plot with red herrings and dead ends, and the most interesting questions--namely, how to help Little Bear--are watered down with easily solved dilemmas (e.g., Dad is worried about the effects of tampering with the past, but all he finally has to do is read up on Mohawk history and tell Little Bear the best alternative). A few other 11th-hour disclosures suggest an end to the series; indeed, this soil has been farmed too long. Ages 8-12. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1998 Release date: 10/01/1998 Genre: Children's
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