Review Blog

Jan 12 2013

The finger-eater by Dick King-Smith

cover image

Ill. by Arthur Robins. Walker Books, 2012. ISBN 978 1 4063 4186 7.
(Age: 7+) Recommended. Humour. 60 pages, large print, pages broken up by funny drawings, a story split into easy to read chapters, make this a great read for those beginning chapter books, as well as those who want a quick and funny read. There seems too few of these, so with Dick King-Smith as the author, people will eagerly pick it up to read. First published in 1992, it is a welcome return of this book, aimed at the early chapter book readers.
The troll, Ulf, is a finger eater. He traps unwary people along the road with his bright and friendly approach, putting out his hand to shake. This is most unusual for trolls, and so people are happy to oblige, but then Ulf eats one of their fingers. Consequently, many of the people in the village are missing their index finger of their right hand, or in some case, the little finger. But Gudrun, living with her family in their tent as they herd reindeer, will not be so easy to trick. She has been warned by her parents with their seven fingers, and so will not shake hands with the troll. When he asks for some of the milk she is carrying to get her to have a hand free for him to eat, she squirts it into his mouth, rather than release one hand. When the reindeer shed their antlers, she has an idea, and when the troll bites her finger, he is in for a nasty surprise.
This is a lovely story of one girl thinking about how to trick the troll, but it is the background of the reindeer herders that sticks in my mind. The illustrations will amuse and delight readers as they read through this highly enticing story of one troll and his tricks upon the unwary only to be outwitted himself.
Fran Knight

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