The Magic Finger
Author Roald Dahl
Illustrator William Pene du Bois
Pat Marriott
Tony Ross
Quentin Blake
Original Publication date 1 June 1966
Publication Order
Preceded by
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964)
Followed by
Fantastic Mr. Fox (1970)

The Magic Finger is a children's story published by Roald Dahl in 1966. Different editions were illustrated by William Pene du Bois, Tony Ross, and Quentin Blake.


The story is about an eight-year-old girl, whose name is never mentioned, who has a magic finger. With this magical finger she can curse people and turn them into animals. The girl only does this when provoked or angry at someone and usually the punishment is ironically suited to how they've upset her or something that they were doing at the time. For example, she turns her teacher into a cat for being rude to her because at the time the class was learning how to spell the word 'cat', and she didn't know how to spell it.

The main story is about how the girl used her magic finger on the Gregg family because they were shooting ducks. This upset her and when she tried to convince them to stop, they insulted her. So she decides an ironic punishment: the Greggs become flying bird people while giant man-sized ducks live in their house and later try to shoot them. They soon learn it's not nice to shoot animals and as a result, Mr. Gregg smashes all the family's guns with a large hammer, while Mrs. Gregg lays flowers on the graves of the ducks killed the day before.

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