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The Magic Finger

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3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  14,405 ratings  ·  671 reviews
The Gregg family loves hunting, but their eight-year-old neighbor can't stand it. After countless pleas for them to stop are ignored, she has no other choice -- she has to put her magic finger on them. Now the Greggs are a family of birds, and like it or not, they're going to find out how it feels to be on the other end of the gun.
Paperback, 67 pages
Published April 5th 2001 by Puffin Books (first published 1966)
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187th out of 461 books — 583 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Miriam
No hunting! It is mean! Plus, you never know when your psycho neighbor is going to flip out and and punish you with her "Magic Finger" (does that sound dirty to anyone else?). Better to stay inside where it's safe. Don't answer the door to any kids, or ducks.

This seems preachier than is the norm for Dahl. The magic isn't developed, and we don't spend enough time with the narrator to know her or care about her. The way in which the narrator characterized her magic finger as something outside hers
...more
Ferdy
Not my favourite Roald Dahl, it wasn't quite as magical or memorable as Matilda or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, nevertheless it was still a quick, fun story about talking ducks and a girl with a magic finger.
Sarah
This is a book about a girl who punishes a family who hunts using her magic finger. In the end, the family vows never to hunt again. But my question still remains: plenty of people who read this book eat meat, yet agree that the hunters should be punished. But should they? What's the difference between eating meat and hunting your own meat? At least they know the animals weren't tortured or abused. Maybe I'm reading too much into this...
Shanaz Begum
I got told by my little cousin to read this book who is in year 5. When I first looked at the book I wasn’t too keen to read the book but I was glad I did. I really like how Roald Dahl keeps the reader engaged into the book, because when the Girl uses her magic finger you want to what happens to them straight away. As a reader I wanted to quickly finish the page I was reading and go on to the next one so I can find out what’s next. At point I had to put the book down but I really didn’t want to. ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I wasn't terribly fond of this one. Clearly Dahl was going for an anti-hunting message, but the story lacks pizzazz. The illustrations look like a third-grader's work. It would be fun, though, to have a magic finger you could point at people and turn them into animals.
Angel Gelique
What goes around, comes around in this incredible story by the very talented Roald Dahl.
Kellie
Simplistic:
This book has an agenda which is anti-gun and anti-hunting. The affected family is taught a lesson by a young girl who cannot control either her temper or her "magic finger". I have seen many farm families in my life growing up in both rural England and rural America. None of these have taken pleasure in harming animals and have considered their lifestyle including hunting as a necessity in feeding their families.

Deeper:
Is it too simplistic to think that there is only one "lesson" to
...more
Elliot Chalom
Picked up this book on a recommendation by Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) in the interview of him contained in Poking a Dead Frog: Conversations with Today's Top Comedy Writers (and if you see my review of that book, you'll now understand where I was going with that). I decided that given the potentially dark undertones of Dahl's work I should probably read it before giving it to my intelligent, but highly sensitive, 7-year old son. Handler says of Dahl that "All of [his] stories have this ...more
Jessica *The Lovely Books*
Roald Dahl's books are classic and not to mention have so much creativity and imagination that is put into words and pages of fun. The Magic Finger is one that I had never heard of let alone read before now.

The main characters involve a girl and a whole family of hunters. Their names are Mr. Gregg, Mrs.Gregg, William, and Philip. Throughout the book the girl is just referred to as girl and she has a magic finger. The magic finger usually comes out when she is angry at someone; which would have c
...more
Christina
Great book for teaching empathy to children! Also, as a pescatarian, I appreciate the point that humans get to walk a mile in the shoes of a bird family. Very clever. I'd give it a 3 for my own personal enjoyment as an adult, but my 6.5 y/o said she thinks it's just as good as The BFG and Matilda. (Also, as a noteworthy side note, I am floored and curious about the fact that a man of his generation had heroines, as opposed to heroes, in all three of those books-Sophie, Matilda, and "the girl wit ...more
Azure A
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dominique
I have to admit that I'm cheating this week. I'm going to Sweden for the Midsummer Festival this weekend and I'm not sure how much I can read there. That's why I picked an extra short book that arrived by post today. I ordered the full box set of Roald Dahl's children's books and this week's pick was The Magic Finger.

There's not much to say about this book. It took me ten minutes to read it. It's about a girl who, when she's upset, can use her magic finger to change the situation. In this story
...more
Kimberley
This is another one of Roald Dahl's easy to read books. It follows an eight year old girl (who remains nameless throughout the book) who has magical finger. It predominately follows the second time that she has used her powers, which is when she saw the Gregg family shooting at animals which they do for leisure and this went against her ideals. By using her powers the girl caused a switch in power whereby the Gregg family changed into birds and the ducks into humans. It was during this stage of ...more
Cruth
One of the wonderful novellas (57 pages) by Roald Dahl with Quentin Blake's humorous illustrations.

First published in 1966, my edition was published 2001.

Basically, "The Magic Finger" is a modern fairy tale with an anti-hunting refrain. As such, while the 6yo enjoyed it, it's probably more 8+ for comprehension without an adult supporting it. (As a very urban Aussie, hunting is not a normal nor regular activity for us. It moves the book into pure fiction for us.)

The story is mostly from first per
...more
Colin McKay Miller
Roald Dahl’s The Magic Finger may stop shy of all the avenues it could take to be a fully-fledged kid’s novel, but it’s an amusing short story as is.

When I was a kid, I never thought of a book being a short story, novella, novel, etc.—a book was a book—but now that I’m an adult revisiting Roald Dahl, it’s clear how short The Magic Finger really is. The huge drawings from Pat Marriot also help speed things along (though it’s odd to me how many Dahl works I have where Quentin Blake—the staple I th
...more
Kerrie
This short story focuses on a girl who has a magic finger, which is very powerful. When she becomes angry, her magic finger takes revenge on the perpetrators , ending in disastrous consequences. This humorous story follows the Greggs, who have a rather immoral lifestyle, but when the magic finger is set upon them, everything changes as they are given a taste of their own medicine. Finally seeing the error of their ways, the Greggs emerge as better people and try to right their wrongs. I enjoyed ...more
Sam
'The Magic Finger' is the story of an 8 year old girl who has a special power, whenever someone upsets her she is able to use her 'magic finger' to punish them. The magic finger is one of the fingers on her hand, which glows red when she is angry and zaps the person who has enraged her. She first realises she has this ability when she manages to use her power to turn her teacher, Mrs Winter into a cat after she makes fun of the little girl in the classroom. After this event the girl vows to neve ...more
Nicola Gilliard
The Magic Finger is about a girl who doesn’t agree with her neighbours’ passion for hunting animals. The girl has a ‘magic finger’ that she cannot control. When she gets angry at someone, she points her magic finger at the person and something bad soon happens to them. The Gregg family, the girl’s neighbours, cross the line when they come home with a deer that they had hunted, after all the girls pleas with them to stop their hunting. As a result, the Gregg family bear the brunt of the Girl’s ma ...more
Jenny Mathew
The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl is a tale about a girl who posseses a magic finger that takes affect when she becomes angry at someone. The story depicts a cold-hearted family, the Greggs, who are hunters and have no respect for animals, but once the magic finger is unleashed upon their family they are shown how it feels to be a bird and to be hunted. This makes them empathise, they realise their wrong doings and understand that they should treat others the way they themselves wish to be treated. ...more
Jade Singleton
The story is about an 8 year old girl and her 'magic finger'. The magic finger gives the girl power to transform people and situations. She simply points it at people who have bothered her in some way, and right away strange and bad things happen.

In this book, the girl discovers her special power when in a spelling test a teacher calls her stupid and makes her stand in the classroom corner. She points her finger at the teacher and she suddenly grows whiskers and a big bushy tail. Later on in th
...more
Carolyn S
So far, I just finished the book "The Magic Finger" by Roald Dahl. I always tend to like Roald Dahl's books, but this was one of my favorites. The story was about a family of ducks and another family of humans that switched lives for a day. They both learned different lessons that were very beneficial. I liked it because unlike some books that give you too much detail, this book gave you just enough to understand. And since normally I don't really read that many folktale or fairytale stories, it ...more
Sarah Churchill
Great storytelling as always with Dahl's work, though I can't help comparing it to some of his others (which I enjoyed more). For me this one is just a little *too* moral and a bit preachy, but still fun!
Mary
Dahl always make me laugh out loud. I love the way he reverse the roles. That was a lesson the family needed to learn.
April
There’s something about reading Roald Dahl that fills me with joy and nostalgia. I always include a Dahl book in my reading pile for every Dewey 24 Hour Readathon because they are FUN, quick and put me in an ‘I love reading’ frame of mind which is essential for any reading marathon. For the April 2012 Readathon, I chose The Magic Finger which is among the more slim Dahl books I own.
Read the rest of my review here
Amy
Short and quick. It was funny and we had a laugh. However, this was easier than I had anticipated and the story does not build much on the plot. I found it a good started book to have a positive read experience and then move on to a harder level. The basic premise of this book is "put yourself in another's shoes". The Magic Finger has chose to tackle hunting as something negative but I think you can look beyond that and just see the moral of not judging and putting yourself in someone else's sho ...more
Jessica Schwartz
When I first read this book, I was in the 3rd grade and absolutely loved it. Roald Dahl is one of my favorite authors. The Magic Finger is a story of an 8 year old girl who has a special power. Whenever she "sees red," the tip of her right index finger starts to tingle and a sword of flash touches the person who has upset her. She explains that her neighbors, the Greggs, have two young boys she often plays with. However, they are hunters and when they decide to kill ducks, the little girl sees r ...more
Debbie
I picked this up as a short Dahl book to introduce my son to the author, but I hadn't read it before.

The narrator, an unnamed girl, is angry that her neighbors go hunting. When she confronts them, they easily dismiss her and she gets even angrier. Cue the Magic Finger that, when pointed at people when she is angry, do silly but vengeful things to the object of her fury.

This feels much more like a short story than a short children's novel. There are only two instances of the magic finger being u
...more
April Thompson
I'm sure there's a lesson in here somewhere. Right?
Fox
Hunting is bad, okay?

That's the gist of what was going on in Roald Dahl's mind here. The illustrations, lovingly done by Quentin Blake, add a greater dash of humor to the typically dark Dahl tale. It's short, sweet, and rather to the point. Another fun example of "how would you like it if someone did that to you?" The answer? Well. Not much.

The high rating is less for the title story than it is for the awesome expanded facts in the book. After the story the new publication continued with a brief
...more
Dark-Draco
Dahl was a favourite author while growing up and I remember reading the BFG, the two Charlie books and Danny, Champion of the World, many times. But I don't ever remember reading this one and I have no idea why not! When it fell into my hands in a random box of books, I kept it to read and picked it up last night. A nice little story - when the girl of the story gets mad, her finger starts to twitch and sends out a beam of light, changing the object of her anger into something else. First a teac ...more
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Roald Dahl was a British novelist, short story writer and screenwriter of Norwegian descent, who rose to prominence in the 1940's with works for both children and adults, and became one of the world's bestselling authors.

Dahl's first published work, inspired by a meeting with C. S. Forester, was Shot Down Over Libya. Today the story is published as "A Piece of Cake". The story, about his wartime a
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More about Roald Dahl...
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Charlie Bucket, #1) Matilda James and the Giant Peach The BFG The Witches

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