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King Midas and the Golden Touch

King Midas and the Golden Touch

by Charlotte Craft, Kinuko Y. Craft (Illustrator)

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"There once lived a very rich king called Midas who believed that nothing was more precious than gold."

So begins this imaginative and breathtaking retelling of the myth of the man with the golden touch. When a mysterious stranger offers to reward Midas for a kindness, the king does not hesitate: He wishes that all he touches would


"There once lived a very rich king called Midas who believed that nothing was more precious than gold."

So begins this imaginative and breathtaking retelling of the myth of the man with the golden touch. When a mysterious stranger offers to reward Midas for a kindness, the king does not hesitate: He wishes that all he touches would turn to gold. To his delight, his wish is granted and he soon sets about transforming his ordinary palace into a place of golden beauty. But to his dismay, when he accidentally turns his beloved daughter into a golden statue, Midas learns that what at first seems a blessing can also become a curse.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The mother-daughter duo that produced Cupid and Psyche sumptuously interprets a familiar Greek myth. A note at the beginning explains that the text is inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne's retelling, and it is structured like a fairy tale. Midas's kindness to a stranger earns him his ill-fated wish; Midas's love for his daughter inspires his remorse; and in the end, he is magically redeemed. The author writes fluidly and capaciously, invoking castle rose gardens and secret chambers of treasure. The lavish oil-over-watercolor paintings, said to be set in the Middle Ages, make overtures to the Renaissance in their lush compositional style and the characters' costumes. As Kinuko Craft's admirers will expect, her attention to detail is unflagging: embroidered, jeweled clothes almost seem to rustle, and the palace's columns, stairways and arches form dizzying arcades. At first her gold palette dazzles, but as the insidious gilt trail extinguishes the vibrant range of colors, the dark side of Midas's supposed good fortune is manifested as clearly in the pictures as in the text. A regal treatment. Ages 5-up. (Apr.)
Publishers Weekly
The mother-daughter team structures this adaptation like a fairly tale and take their inspiration from Nathaniel Hawthorne's retelling of the Greek myth. PW called it "a regal treatment." Ages 5-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Judy Katsh
For those of us who have always felt superior to the legendary king and his lust for gold; this book is our comeuppance. Even as the king begins to realize the foolishness of his obsession with gold, readers are mesmerized by the luminous illustrations that reveal the beauty, allure, and irresistibility of the gleaming metal. The story is well told. The king, despite his preoccupation with gold, is not a bad man; and we do cheer with him as his redemption becomes our reality. But, the show here belongs primarily to the illustrations. Oil over watercolor paintings not only fill the pages, but seem to leap off them and fill the reading room with the gleaming brilliance of the gold and the story. The technical quality of the illustrations is apparent to even unschooled observers as reflections dance upon the golden floors of the castle and the shadows cast by the light of golden statues reflect both the beauty and sorrow the king's wish has wrought. An elegant edition of a most worthy tale.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-Like the previous Craft collaboration, Cupid and Psyche (Morrow, 1996), this gloriously and elaborately illustrated Midas is faithful to the myth (in Hawthorne's redaction). A sharp eye will spot a few Anatolian visual clues in an otherwise baroquely splendid fantasy of a medieval court, rendered in meticulous detail. Excess never looked better. Libraries with budgets of gold might want both this volume and John Stewig's King Midas (Holiday, 1999), illustrated by Omar Rayyan: they make a fascinating and instructive pair. Lacking the Midas touch, librarians must choose between the essentially conservative Craft approach, as unsurprising and toothsome as Turkish delight, and Stewig's much more flavorful and inventive recipe. If readers want the Hollywood spectacular, Craft is for them, but the innovative team of Stewig and Rayyan would get my vote in a heartbeat.-Patricia Lothrop-Green, St. George's School, Newport, RI
Kirkus Reviews
King Midas And The Golden Touch ( PLB Apr.; 32 pp.; 0-688-13165-4; PLB 0-688-13166-2): The familiar tale of King Midas gets the golden touch in the hands of Craft and Craft (Cupid and Psyche, 1996). The author takes her inspiration from Nathaniel Hawthorne's retelling, capturing the essence of the tale with the use of pithy dialogue and colorful description. Enchanting in their own right, the illustrations summon the Middle Ages as a setting, and incorporate colors so lavish that when they are lost to the uniform gold spurred by King Midas's touch, the point of the story is further burnished. (Picture book. 7-9)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
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Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.07(d)
AD860L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Charlotte Craft studied comparative literature at Columbia University in New York. After graduating, she traveled to Japan, where she worked as an interpreter and photographer. She now lives in Scotland with her family. The New York Times complimented her first book, Cupid and Psyche, for its "clear, simple text" and noted that the book a "excels in conveying the mythology."

In addition to Cupid and Psyche, she is also the illustrator of Marianna Mayer's Pegasus, Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave, and The Twelve Dancing Princesses. Ms. Craft lives in Connecticut.

Kinuko Y. Craft has won more than one hundred graphic-arts awards, including five gold medals from the Society of Illustrators. In 2008, she was inducted into their Hall of Fame. Her art has been in print for almost half a century, appearing on the covers of such prestigious publications as Time and Newsweek. Her illustrated books on Greek myths and of classic fairy tales have been published in the United States and other English-language countries, and in Europe, China, and Korea. Says Kirkus Reviews, "Every detail of her work—the flowers by a spring, a red cloak unfurled against a blue sky, moonlight on a tiger's back—is beautifully rendered." Beauty and the Beast is her ninth illustrated book.

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