The Magic Finger
Roald Dahl ~ William Pène du Bois ~ Harper, 1966
Possibly my son's favorite Dahl book, he's spend the last few years enjoying the Quentin Blake illustrations, and it was only recently that we checked the original version out from the library. Now, I love children's things that have a decidedly anti-gun theme. Not to say that I am against guns or hunting as to each his own, but children's stories that show the repercussions of killing living creatures hold a warm spot in my heart. Iron Giant, great anti-gun film for kids. Thus, where The Magic Finger comes in. A story told by a little girl with a magic touch about her gun toting neighbors. So, the story begins...
Now the one thing that Mr. Gregg and his two boys loved to do more than anything else was to go hunting. Every Saturday morning they would take their guns and go off into the woods to look for animals and birds to shoot. Even Philip, who was only eight years old, had a gun of his own.
I can't stand hunting. I just can't stand it. It doesn't seem right to me that men and boys should kill animals just for the fun they get out of it. So I used to try and stop Philip and William from doing it.
And that she does. By putting the magic finger on the whole lot of them. What is the magic finger, you ask?
Well, one time when the girl put the magic finger on her teacher, she turned into a cat. Du Bois created an incredible trick of the eye by taking these two pictures and putting them on both sides of a single page with the instructions HOLD THIS PAGE UP TO BRIGHT LIGHT. I've never seen this done in a book before, but the result is pure genius.... a cat lady!
Once the magic finger touches the Gregg family, they find themselves trading places with a flock of ducks and hilarity ensues.
Never a dull Dahl, I tell you.
The Runaway Flying Horse
Otto in Texas
The Light Princess
My Grandson Lew
The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me
Fantastic Mr. Fox
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