This was a book that my third grade teacher read to our class every day after we got in from lunch. I remember how we listened to my teacher’s every word about Omri, a boy who is gifted a magical medicine cabinet that brings plastic toys to life. We couldn’t wait until the next day to realize the resolution of each chapter’s cliffhanger.
So it seemed a great choice to read to my 7 year old son. But would a second reading, more than 30 years later, hold up to the test of time? I had my doubts, which began with the title of the book. Could this foreshadow greater problems to come? Against my better judgment, I decided to find out.
While my son seemed interested in the story, there were some cringey moments that maybe I was sensitive to, but hopefully were lost on him. There were references to injuns and talk of scalpings and firewater, stereotypical stuff. And the way Little Bear spoke in broken English didn’t help either. And besides all of that, Omri’s friend Patrick was a terrible person. I quietly seethed through most parts of the book involving him.
So are we going to read the second book in the series? I don’t think so. And while I don’t think my 3rd grade psyche was damaged in any way by the first reading, I feel the book, like those memories, belongs back in the 80’s.
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