The King Midas & Golden Touch by Kathryn HewittCategories/Genres for this class fulfilled by this book: Traditional, Picture book
Copyright Date: 1988
Estimate of age level of interest: K-3rd Grade
Estimate of reading level: 2nd-3rd Grade
King Midas and the Golden Touch is the story of King Midas who so loves gold that he wishes for the power to turn anything he touches into gold. At daybreak his wish is granted and he immediately starts turning everything into gold. His glasses (which he can no longer see through), books (that he can no longer read), and finally his daughter. When he realizes that his poor daughter is now trapped as a gold statue, he laments his wish and it is reversed.
Identify at least 2 characteristics of this genre and subgenre and discuss how they appear in your book:
The plot structure of King Midas and the Golden Touch is reminiscent of a fable wherein the king learns a valuable lesson at the end. Here the king is obsessed with gold, to the point where everything in his life is either gold or named after gold. His dog is a golden retriever, the cat is named Goldilocks, and his daughter is named Marigold. His love for gold is so strong that when he is granted the power he uses it with reckless abandon, even trying to eat food that turns to molten gold as it touches his tongue. But when Marigold is turned into a gold statue he realizes his folly and prays for forgiveness. The king is granted the power to turn everyone back and never wants to see gold again.
The characterization of King Midas is similarly simplified in this retelling of the story. He is a man that ignores his child and spends most of his days locked in a basement admiring his golden treasure. When presented with the power, he is told it will begin at daybreak the following morning. He wakes up early and is disappointed that the power has not manifested yet. Once it does, however, he spends most of the morning turning his property into gold, even kicking the cat and the dog much to the horror of his daughter.
In what ways and how well does the book as a whole serve its intended audience?
This book is not very good retelling of the story, except for perhaps the most cursory teaching of the tale. The text is to complicated for emerging readers, but the story is too simple for the appropriate reading level student. It would do as a picture book for students in the kindergarten or pre-kindergarten classroom, but would probably fall flat beyond there.
Awards if any:
None could be found.
Links to published reviews from professional sources e.g. ALA, Booklist, Kirkus, SLJ, etc. if any:
School Library Journal, 1987
King Midas and the Golden Touch
King Midas once loved roses as much as he prized gold, but now he has become more pre-occupied with wealth than beauty. When a mysterious figure offers to grant him a wish, Midas asks that everything he touches turn to gold. The next morning, the King is delighted when his wish is granted. However, when he embraces his daughter and turns her into a golden statue, his greatest happiness becomes his deepest despair. He joyfully re-instates his daughter and returns his roses to life. Gorgeous illustrations accompany the text-heavy pages. Oil paintings have a Renaissance feel, with lavish palace details and a golden shimmer to the images.
Many years ago, there was a king named King Midas. The King was very, very rich. He was the richest king in the world, and he had more gold than any other king in the world. And the King loved his gold. He loved his gold more than anything else in all the world. He had a lot of gold, but he always wanted more gold. One day, the King was in his room counting his money when a wizard appeared in the room.
Look for a summary or analysis of this Story. In the plays of Shakespeare we have three distinct divisions—three separate volumes. One deals with Tragedy, another with Comedy, a third with History; and a mistake made by the young in their aspect of life is that they do the same thing, and keep tragedy and comedy severely apart, relegating them to separate volumes that, so they think, have nothing to do with each other. Once upon a time the kingdom of Phrygia lacked a king, and in much perplexity, the people sought help from an oracle. The answer was very definite:.
Once upon a time there lived a very rich King, whose name was Midas. He had a little daughter Marigold whom he loved very much. One day Midas was enjoying the sight of gold in his treasure room, when a stranger appeared before him. Nobody else in the world has as much. I wish everything that I touch to be changed to gold. In the morning, when the sun rose, the King woke up, and saw that his bed had been changed to gold.