Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

The Golden Touch: A Retelling of the Legend of King Midas

Huser, Glen (Author)
Béha, Philippe (Illustrator)
Tradewind Books 2015. 48 pages
First published: 2015
ISBN: 9781896580739 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Dewey: 782
Book type: Picture Book
Book genre: Folklore

Text Elements:

dialogue, evocative language, figurative language

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

“Close your eyes for a minute and imagine a time when gods and men shared the wonders of the world—along with creatures that were half human.” Monty Python fans will recognize the voice of narrator Terry Jones on the CD that accompanies this beautifully illustrated book—an amusing retelling of the classic Greek myth of King Midas. Delightful keepsakes, the book and CD commemorate an opera performed by a Chroma Musika cast and over 200 Québec school children from the Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board Youth Chorus.

As per the original legend, one morning, King Midas finds his cousin Silenus asleep in the royal rose garden. Knowing that Dionysus would be looking for the old faun, Midas hosts Silenus in his castle, hoping to be richly rewarded. Dionysus, a famous trickster, does grant Midas one wish, but the outcome is outrageous. “Have you ever made a wish\and when that wish came true\It turned out that someone must have played a trick on you?”

Midas hadn’t thought things through when he wished that everything he touched would turn to gold. Hilarious rhymes recount the terrible consequences of his short-sightedness, these sung parts of the opera transcribed in italics: “He wanders by the laundry\And touches, unaware—\He’s turned his favourite gonches\Into metal underwear!”

Radiant illustrations favour rich golden tones, mirroring the text. Cut-outs of musical scores are incorporated into every spread so the whole story sings from cover to cover.

  •  

    If you could have anything you wished, what would you choose? What would be the benefits and drawbacks?

  •  

    How does the familiar expression be careful what you wish for apply to this story? Write about a time when you got what you wished for, but it didn’t turn out as you had hoped.

  •  

    Read another version of the same myth and use a graphic organizer to compare the two. How are the written text and the illustrations similar and different? Which version do you prefer and why?

  •  Listen to the songs on the CD and follow the words in the book. Discuss how listening while reading lyrics is different from simply reading the written word. How does the music change your experience of reading?
  •  

    If you could have anything you wished, what would you choose? What would be the benefits and drawbacks?

  •  

    Brainstorm what you know about Greek mythology. Start a mind map. How are the characters related?

  •  Listen to the story on the CD. With a partner, create a storyboard for this opera.
  •  

    How does the familiar expression be careful what you wish for apply to this story? Write about a time when you got what you wished for, but it didn’t turn out as you had hoped.

  •  

    Discuss the expression: to have the golden touch. Reflect on your understanding after reading the book or listening to the CD.

  •  

    Pay careful attention to a teacher-selected track of the CD. Listen for keywords. Jot these down and discuss your understanding with your peers.

  •  

    Read another version of the story of King Midas and compare the two. Create a Venn diagram to illustrate their differences and similarities. Complete your comparison with a short text explaining how the music made a difference in your reading experience.

  •  

    Rewrite and simplify the story. With the class divided into four groups, present your versions of the story dialogue in a Readers’ Theatre format. Include several narrators to ensure that everyone has a speaking role.

  •  

    Script and produce a mini-musical presentation.

  • To communicate appropriately
  • To construct his/her identity
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • To use information
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Ethics and Religious Culture
  • Personal Development