The Chocolate Touch

by Patrick Skene Catling (1952)

An Intro and Sweet Spot selection.

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 into…chocolate!

Why should you read that? Of course, it is engaging for children to read a book that is all about chocolate – at least on the surface. As John Midas says, “Other things are just food. But chocolate’s chocolate!” But The Chocolate Touch isn’t really just about chocolate. Instead, it is about the peril of being selfish and self-centered. The only cure for John’s chocolatitis is for him to think of others before himself, a valuable lesson for us all.

It’s a sweetly and briskly told fable, reminiscent of the old favorite Bread and Jam for Frances. All readers – parents, teachers, and students – will appreciate a story with sweet lessons 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 makes The Chocolate Touch a good choice for schools wanting a simpler first book for a schoolwide reading program. Or, it makes a nice book to pair with a second more complex title, providing a wonderful stepping stone to a more challenging read.

The Chocolate Touch is a sweet classic from 1952, but the lessons are timeless. Enjoy the chocolate, the healthy message, and the wisdom – “all things in moderation” – of The Chocolate Touch. And share it with your families!

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