A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{January 30, 2013}   The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl

magic fingerPlot: The Gregg family loves hunting, shooting deer and ducks every day. Though the girl next door is friends with the two Gregg boys, she cannot stand their hobby. One day she is overcome by anger over yet another dead animal and she does the one thing she never should: she uses her magic finger on them. The next morning, the Greggs wake up tiny and with bird wings. They are about to find out what hunting feels like for the animals.

This is a very short but cute novel. If I had to summarize it in one cliche, I would say that “turnaround is fair play”. The Greggs switch places with four  ducks (the whole thing hilariously illustrated by Quentin Blake) and are forced to confront their actions and the difficulties of life as a bird. What I found particularly interesting is that, contrary to a lot of Dahl novels, the “bad guys” are nuanced. These are not characters who reveal in being nasty and are justly (and terribly) punished. They learn a lesson and become better people. A bit less shadenfreude than a Dahl fan might expect but it still doesn’t feel preachy.

The little girl, with powers as mysterious as Matilda’s, is but a minor character. But I’d be curious to see what other trouble she could cause with that finger.

If you have 20 minutes to spare, give this lesser known Dahl book a read.

2013 (#8)


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