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The Magic Finger Paperback – September 1, 1998

4.1 out of 5 stars 117 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

A true genius ... Roald Dahl is my hero David Walliams --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Roald Dahl���(1916-1990) was born in Wales of Norwegian pa
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 2 - 5 years
  • Lexile Measure: 450L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin (September 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141302291
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141302294
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.2 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,678,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book has a lot going for it, but I wouldn't recommend it for every child.
A very positive point for this book, is that it's written at about a second-grade level. Equivalent to the "Step 2" or "Level 2" books. It's actually got quite a story, but it's written easily enough for beginning readers to enjoy, which is really great and sometimes hard to find.
I thought the illustrations were wonderful and whimsical.
The story itself might be a little tough for an already extremely empathetic child to read. Since it depicts the feelings of ducks who are being hunted, this might be a sensitive issue for some. Introduce this book to the child of a hunting family, or even just a family of typical meat-eaters and you might find yourself with an angry little vegetarian on your hands! (Especially interesting, when contrasted against Dahl's "Danny, The Champion of the World" - a hunter's hero!)
My children enjoyed this story (and still eat their burgers), but I think for some children, it might raise some ethical problems. Which isn't always a bad thing, of course! But parents beware! This story might lead to a domestic revolt.
Of course, any family of vegetarians won't have a problem with this story at all. And, as another reviewer mentioned, this book can certainly offer some good "empathy" discussions with children.
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By A Customer on June 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
The magic finger is the thought provoking story of a little girl who could cast a curse on anyone she was angry with. The one thing that made her maddest of all was shooting animals just for the fun of it. And so when the Gregg family on the next farm went out shooting ducks, she turned their arms to wings and the ducks wings to arms. It was only after a tremendous ordeal, including being shot at by the ducks that the Greggs promised never to shoot another animal as long as they live. They even changed their names to the Egg family to remind them of their promise. The story is told from the perspective of a small eight year old girl, with magic finger, and uses the grammar, and turn of phrase that such a little girl might use, particularly near the beginning. The story therefore alternates between the first and third person, although for the bulk of the text it is indistinguishable from a standard narrative. This book has a strong underlying theme considering it's young audience, first solo reading. I would describe it as the seven year old's version of a political novel such as 1984. The theme, being animal rights, is obviously more accessible and understandable to a younger mind, but it is dealt with in an imaginative and thought provoking way. The argument which the author uses is one of empathy, basically running along the lines of "how would you like it if you were a fox, and someone started shooting at you?!" By reversing the roles of the ducks and humans, he makes the reader see the day to day life of a bird as far more taxing than they might otherwise have done, and forces them to view the ducks as more than just things. This is woven into a common childhood fantasy of having magic powers, to be used against those who are being unjust.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
I love the work of Roald Dahl and most certainly feel he is probably one of the greatest tellers of children's stories of all times. Many to most of his stories have a very quirky bent to them; many to most have an underlying theme of just slightly dark humor. Dahl was an extremely prolific author of both children's books and adult. I suppose he is best know for "James and the Giant Peach," "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," and "Matilda." To be honest with you, I have never read one of his stories that I did not like.

As a side note of interest; at least to me, is Dahl's life (He was actually a Flying Ace during WWII and lead a rather adventuresome life. I have always been surprised that a major biography of the man has not been written - he died in 1990.

Anyway, "The Magic Finger" is the story of a little girl who has neighbors who like to hunt. They like to go hunting and kill animals "just for fun." (It is important to note the term "just for fun" here...more about that later). Their hunting practices make her extremely mad. Now this is a good thing and a bad thing because the little girl just happens to possess a magic finger; a finger that can have rather shocking results when she directs this finger toward those who anger her.

The main part of the story is of course that this little girls turns her finger on the entire family of hunters and as it would happen this family find themselves changed into small people with wings living in a bird nest they were forced to construct and at the same time a family of ducks finds they have grown to human size, lost their wings, grew arms and hands and take the hunting families house over. Of course the day after this happens the ducks gather the guns of the household and "go hunting.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read Roald Dahl books to my elementary school special education students. It's a great way to get language and storytelling in a way that is appealing to kids, especially kids who can't access books like this on their own. I have a youngish group this year, so I started with Roald Dahl's shorter books. This is a good introduction to how Roald Dahl stories work. We read it after The Enormous Crocodile and The Twits. I'd recommend those other two over this one. When I'm reading Roald Dahl books, there are occasionally parts that I have to censor or change a bit. (Usually for "comedic" racism.) For this book, I was a little concerned about the strong anti-hunting message, but I think it depends on how you teach it. We talked about how the character of Sophie hates hunting, rather than why the Gregg family is bad for hunting. One character's perspective doesn't have to be a moral truth. The constant guns did make me a little uncomfortable, since talking about guns in schools is a big no-no, but the kids didn't focus on that part at all. We'll read Matilda later on in the year, and this clearly an early version of that story. Matilda should be easier to understand having read this book first.
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