Thursday, January 18, 2018

Review - The Chocolate Touch

The Chocolate Touch (John Midas #1)
by Patrick Skene Catling
illustrated by Margot Apple
Date: 1952
Publisher: HarperCollins
Reading level: MG
Book type: illustrated prose novel
Pages: 128
Format: e-book
Source: library

In this zany twist on the legend of King Midas and his golden touch, a boy acquires a magical gift that turns everything his lips touch into chocolate!

Can you ever have too much of your favorite food? John Midas is about to find out....

The Chocolate Touch has remained a favorite for millions of kids, teachers, and parents for several generations. It's an enjoyable story that pulls in even reluctant readers.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

When I started reading this, I felt like I might've already done so. Or maybe I'd just heard about the book. It's pretty old, after all.

This is a really cute, really quick read about a boy named John Midas who loves chocolate more than anything else. One day, he finds a coin with his initials on it, which he uses to buy a special box of chocolate from a mysterious store. Once he eats the chocolate within, things get really crazy when everything he puts in his mouth turns into chocolate.

If you know the legend of King Midas, there are really no surprises here, but the story was cute and had a good message. I did, however, have some issues with it.

The pictures date the story. Aside from some of the names (which could just be written off as whimsical rather than merely dated), it could almost be set in the present day. The book has a copyright date of 1952, while the illustrations are only from 1979. They look like they're from the 1950s, though, and I wasn't that fond of them.

The other issue I had was with one of John's first acts of chocolatitis, where he eats a whole tube of toothpaste. Yes, it turned into chocolate, but in an era where kids are stupid enough to eat laundry detergent pods, do we really want them getting the idea that eating a whole tube of toothpaste is something they should be doing? His mother was bafflingly blasé about the whole thing, so I was prompted to look up when they started putting fluoride in toothpaste. John's mother should've been a lot more concerned.

Overall, though, this was a fun book. The pace is quick, it's easy to read, and it'll introduce readers to the King Midas story if they don't already know it.

Quotable moment:

John took the spoon between his lips. The medicine turned to chocolate. John choked and spluttered, and chocolate syrup spurted from his mouth.

Dr. Cranium dropped the spoon in alarm. When it struck the white-tiled floor, the chocolate handle snapped into several pieces. "Mercy!" said Dr. Cranium. "I've never seen anything like it! The boy's whole system seems to be so chocolatified that it chocolatifies everything it touches."

Premise: 3/5
Plot: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Pace: 5/5
Writing: 4/5
Editing: 4/5
Originality: 3/5
Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall Rating: 3.63 out of 5 ladybugs

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