The Magic Finger

Sections: Information | Description | Fun Stuff | Teacher Ideas | Covers | Bulgarian, Dutch, French, Greek, Korean, Norwegian, Russian, SlovakianSpanish, and Vietnamese Covers


Information on identifying editions is from Richard Walker’s “Roald Dahl – A Guide to Collecting His First Editions”.

  • First editions:
    • Harper & Row, 1966, USA.
      • Illustrated by: William Pene du Bois
      • To identify: The first state book has pictorial boards matching the rear picture of the dust jacket and a copyright page that was identical for a number of printings (later printings finally used green boards with darker quarter spine). The only way to identify a first print is if it has its original jacket with the original pricing of $2.50 (if a trade edition – and clipped at the bottom front flap) or $2.57 (if a HarperCrest Library edition – and clipped at the top front flap).
    • Allen & Unwin, 1968, UK.
      • Illustrated by: William Pene du Bois
      • To identify: Normal practice single statement (‘First published in Great Britain in’ followed by the date, no later dates or printing statements) and published without a price or a dust jacket. The pictorial boards are the same as the U.S. edition (i.e. matching the picture on the rear panel of the U.S. edition’s dust jacket.
  • Later editions:
    • Puffin, 1974, USA and UK.
      • Illustrated by: Pat Marriott
      • To identify: Used standard practice (‘First published’ followed by the date and a number line underneath) with 3 statements with the last being: ‘published by Puffin Books 1974’. Priced at 20p and $0.65.
    • Puffin, 1989.
      • Illustrated by: Tony Ross
      • To identify: Standard statement form with previous editions listed prior to the last being with new illustrations and copyright Tony Ross, 1989 under Dahl copyright of 1966. (See Richard’s site for more info.)
    • Unwin/Hyman, 1989, UK.
      • Illustrated by: Tony Ross
      • To identify: Used a number line and was published with a jacket
    • Viking, 1995.
      • Illustrated by: Quentin Blake
      • To identify: Used a number line and came with either of two jackets and with or without the Viking logo on the spine.
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What happens when the hunter becomes the hunted?

To the Gregg family, hunting is just plain fun. To the girl who lives next door, it’s just plain horrible. She tries to be polite. She tries to talk them out of it, but the Greggs only laugh at her. Then one day the Greggs go too far, and the little girl turns her Magic Finger on them. When she’s very, very angry, the little girl’s Magic Finger takes over. She really can’t control it, and now it’s turned the Greggs into birds! Before they know it, the Greggs are living in a nest, and that’s just the beginning of their problems…

Fun Stuff


Teacher Ideas


Bulgarian Covers – Вълшебният пръст

Dutch Covers – De tovervinger

French Covers – Le Doigt Magique


Korean Covers

Norwegian Covers – Den Magiske Fingeren

Russian Covers – Волшебный палец

Slovakian Covers – Zázračný prst

Spanish Covers – El Dedo Mágico

Vietnamese Covers – Ngón tay thần kỳ