The Chocolate Touch
by Patrick Skene Catling (1952)
The Chocolate Touch is a charming little re-telling of the King Midas story – only this time it’s young John Midas who can turn everything…to chocolate!
Why should you read that? It’s engaging for children to be in a book who’s primary focus (at least on the surface) is chocolate. (“Other things are just food. But chocolate’s chocolate!,” John Midas intones.) But The Chocolate Touch isn’t really just about chocolate.
It’s a sweetly and briskly told moral lesson – almost an extended version of the lesson in Bread and Jam for Frances. All readers – parents, teachers, and students – appreciate a story whose moral lessons come packaged with some salt and prickly tang.
By putting chocolate as the focus, Patrick Skene Catling also manages to make both his protagonist and his readers appreciate the things on the plate that aren’t chocolate. The book is full of simple, mouth-watering descriptions of creamy milk and ripe cherries. Kids will associate the book with candy…and end up craving a healthy dinner!
Finding these themes packaged in a short 110 page novel – a chestnut from 1952 – makes The Chocolate Touch a good choice for schools wanting a simpler or less intimidating first book for One School, One Book – or a nice book to pair with a second more complex title if you want to read two books and give your families an opportunity to step from the simpler to the more complex.
Enjoy the chocolate, enjoy the healthy message, enjoy the wisdom – “all things in moderation” – of The Chocolate Touch. And share it with your families!