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The Magic Finger Paperback – Jan 27 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin (Jan. 27 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142413852
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142413852
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 0.4 x 19.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 9 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #35,918 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Roald Dahl (1916-1990) was born in Wales of Norwegian parents. He spent his childhood in England and, at age eighteen, went to work for the Shell Oil Company in Africa. When World War II broke out, he joined the Royal Air Force and became a fighter pilot. At the age of twenty-six he moved to Washington, D.C., and it was there he began to write. His first short story, which recounted his adventures in the war, was bought by The Saturday Evening Post, and so began a long and illustrious career.

After establishing himself as a writer for adults, Roald Dahl began writing children’s stories in 1960 while living in England with his family. His first stories were written as entertainment for his own children, to whom many of his books are dedicated.

Roald Dahl is now considered one of the most beloved storytellers of our time. Although he passed away in 1990, his popularity continues to increase as his fantastic novels, including James and the Giant PeachMatildaThe BFG, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, delight an ever-growing legion of fans.

Learn more about Roald Dahl on the official Roald Dahl Web site: www.roalddahl.com

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Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jane James on Feb. 14 2002
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 Sept. 25 2001
Format: Paperback
"The Magic Finger" is about a nameless 8-year-old girl who lives next door to the Greggs and can't stand their thoughtless hunting. So, when the two boys and their father return home with a young deer one day, she puts the Magic Finger on the entire family. The Magic Finger is like the evil eye, except the results from her spell are much more amusing.
The curse doesn't occur immediately. The Greggs still have enough time to go out again that day and shoot some ducks. After their hunt, they go home with their twenty birds--sixteen are dead, but four continue to follow them home in the air. Although the Greggs try to shoot these four pests, they can never manage to hit them.
When the family is getting ready for bed that night, something outrageous begins to happen--they're turning into birds. Furthermore, the four ducks who had followed them home have grown as large as humans with arms instead of wings. In the sudden turn of events, the Greggs lose their house to the wild ducks and must survive on their own by building a nest for shelter, searching for edible food, and avoiding predators--especially ones with guns.
The Magic Finger is a wonderful book for 8 to 12-years-old and is short enough (approximately 64 pages with plenty of illustrations) to keep anyone's attention. I really liked the moral of the story, probably since I am a vegan and against hunting. The book isn't preachy, but there's certainly something to learn when the roles of human and animal are reversed.
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By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on April 8 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is about empathy and fairness. An 8 year-old girl is annoyed when she sees people causing hurt. She zaps her teacher for telling the girl she is stupid when she misspells cat (kat). The teacher starts to turn into a feline-like creature with whiskers and a tail. The girl also "can't stand hunting." Annoyed by the Greggs who hunt for deer and ducks, suddenly the Greggs find themselves changing places, roles, and body features with a duck family. The Greggs quickly decide they don't like being prey very much. Most young people will relate well to this book during their period when they think carefully through the implications of eating meat. The book contains many black-and-white pen and pencil sketches by Quentin Blake to illustrate the key shifts taking place.
I thought that the story and the illustrations just didn't quite pull off the theme. It's clearly bad to hurt people's feelings and to hunt, as this story evolves. But what about having a hamburger? The book needs to broaden its message in order to make it clear what is being condemned. I wasn't sure where the book intended to draw limits on what people can do to animals. The illustrations sometimes look like scribbles done by someone in the back of a car that was hitting potholes. I suspect that the intent was to mimic a child's style. I would have preferred choosing a better child artist as a model, if that is the case. The beneficial changes occur because the girl has a magic finger. Well, I didn't have one when I was 8. What should an 8 year-old really do?
When you and your child read this book together, I suggest that you plan to spend some time describing or developing a moral system that makes sense to both of you.
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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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