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Literature / The Chocolate Touch

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The Chocolate Touch is a 1952 children's book by Patrick Skene Catling based on the King Midas myth.

John Midas is a young boy with an obsession for chocolate. It's all he ever seems to want to eat, much to his parents' chagrin. When his doctor orders him to stop eating only chocolate, for the sake of his health, his parents agree, and John suddenly finds himself cut off, and his spending money managed by them.

Displeased with this, John goes for a walk, and finds a coin with a picture of a fat boy and the initials "JM" on it. He holds on to it and soon finds himself at a candy store he had never seen before. He goes inside, and uses the coin to pay for a box of chocolates that the owner insists is the finest ever. That night, John decides to have some of the chocolate, only to find one single piece, which doesn't taste all that different from other chocolate.

The next morning, however, John discovers that now everything he touches with his mouth turns into chocolate, which, of course, John is over the moon for... at first. Over time, it soon becomes clear to John that eating only chocolate isn't as great as he thought. Now, John has to find a way to undo the curse if he ever wants to eat anything else besides chocolate ever again.

The book has a sequel, Chocolate Magic, released in 2000, which focuses on John's little sister, Mary, eating the same mysterious chocolate. John himself starred in four more books: John Midas in the Dreamtime (1986), John Midas and the Vampires (1994), John Midas and the Radio Touch (1994), and John Midas and the Rock Star (1995).

The Chocolate Touch contains examples of:

  • An Aesop: Eating nothing but sweets is bad for your health. John begins to feel the effects of only eating chocolate about a day or so after gaining his new ability.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When asked if he likes any other foods besides chocolate, John says he likes bananas... especially ones that are diced and covered in chocolate. They're called "banana surprises".
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: John wanted to be able to eat all the chocolate he wanted. He soon came to regret that.
  • Comically Cross-Eyed: John's parents tell their son he has spots on his nose. John tries to use both eyes to see if he has spots, making his eyes ache.
  • Doctor's Orders: John finds himself cut off from his chocolate when the family physician, Dr. Cranium, says he needs to stop eating it, which John's parents agree with.
  • Foul Medicine: John has to take a bad-tasting vitamin tonic every day to make up for his refusal to eat fruit or vegetables. Presumably after he learns his lesson in the end, he won't need to take it anymore.
  • The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: The candy store where John gains his power disappears when John decides he's done having everything he puts in his mouth turn to chocolate and reappears when John returns after he turns his mom into chocolate.
  • Meaningful Name: John Midas.
  • Midas Touch: Only with chocolate instead of gold, and at first it only changes when John touches it with his lips, though soon everything that touches his mouth turns to chocolate.
  • Never My Fault: John blames everyone but himself for the problems that arise when he turns stuff into chocolate. The candyman has John realize it's actually his own fault for wishing for such an ability.
  • Omniscient Morality License: The candyman says the candy won't hurt his mother "in the long run". The implication is that he knows John will turns his mother into chocolate, and that this will compel him to pull a Heel–Face Turn regarding his chocolate-eating habits.
  • Picky Eater: John only likes to eat chocolate. He gets over it by the end of the book.
  • Sweet Tooth: John adores chocolate above all other foods.
  • Taken for Granite: Or rather, taken for chocolate in John's mom's case. The sequel has Mickey Mouse, the President of the United States, and John himself.
  • Tasty Gold: Susan shows John her silver coin and encourages him to bite it to test if it's real. He does, and it turns into chocolate.
  • Tempting Fate: John doesn't see how his chocolate-eating habits could harm his mother. He's proven wrong when he turns his mother into chocolate by kissing her.
  • Thinking Tic: John chews on things when he's thinking, so when he gets his powers it turns the things he chews on into chocolate.