The Magic Finger

Age Range: 5 - 11

The story of a little girl with magical powers. When someone makes her angry she zaps a punishment on them with her magic flashing finger!

Book Author: Roald Dahl

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Teaching Ideas and Resources:


  • Write your own story about a magic finger. What special powers would it have?
  • Imagine that you had a magic finger. What adventures might you have?
  • Without reading the story, look at the illustrations of the characters at the front of the book. Predict what might happen to them in the book.
  • The story is written in the first person. What does this mean? Could you rewrite part of it in the third person?
  • Every Saturday morning Mr Gregg and the boys go off hunting. Think of some 'for' and 'against' arguments about hunting. Could you have a class debate to discuss it?
  • Write a prequel to the book explaining how the girl got a magic finger.
  • Rewrite the story from the point of view of one of the Gregg children.
  • Think of some words and phrases that can be used to describe what happens when the girl uses her magic finger?(see Resources below).
  • Carry out a role play activity to decide what the girl should do after she has used the magic finger on the Gregg family. Should she help them?
  • Make a list of words to describe how the Gregg family might have felt when they were turned into birds and another list to describe their feelings when they became human again.
  • Write a new chapter for the end of the book that describes what happens to the Cooper family.
  • Can you write a set of instructions to teach someone how to do a magic trick of their own?


  • Can you make a list of different types of birds. How are they similar / different?
  • Choose one type of bird and write a report about it. Where does it live? What does it eat?
  • Make a poster to teach people how to help look after wild birds.


  • Use drawing software to draw a picture of a human with wings? or a human with the features of another animal.

Design Technology

  • Design a nest / bird box for the Gregg family to stay in after they had turned into birds.


  • Retell the story in the form of a storyboard.
  • Could you use natural material (e.g. sticks and leaves) to build a nest?


  • Draw a map showing the locations in the story.
  • How many different types of weather are mentioned in the book? Can you think of other words to describe each type?


  • If the girl gets cross, she uses the magic finger. Can you think of any techniques she could use to stay calm and control her anger?
  • The girl punishes people who she feels are doing something wrong. Do you think that these are fair punishments? Why?


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