McDonald's Giving Out Books Instead Of Toys in UK Happy Meals

Categories: Chain Reactions
Ronald McDonald: champion for literacy? Well at least in the UK, he is. From now until February 7th, the fast-food giant long-criticized for being purveyors of unhealthiness and ruiner of children's nutrition is promoting one good habit even as it continues to peddle a bad one: It's giving away books in its Happy Meals instead of toys.

9 million copies of Michael Morpurgo's Mudpuddle Farm series of books will be distributed with the meals. Morpurgo is most well-known for War Horse, which was adapted by Steven Spielberg into the movie of the same name.

Some note that these giveaways represent a significant amount of books. The usual number of children's books sold each week in the United Kingdom is a mere 1.16 million.

Even as this sounds like a good and positive idea, not everyone's happy. The Daily Mail newspaper quoted someone from a organization called Children's Food Campaign as saying "At a time when we have a childhood obesity epidemic this is clearly an inappropriate marketing strategy."

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Gene Rodriguez
Gene Rodriguez

When I was a kid (OC in the late 1970's) McDonald's had a similar campaign. I don't recall "Happy Meals", but I do remember books, abridged classics, being available for purchase. I am an avid reader and can't help but thank McDonald's book campaign for introducing me to authors Jules Verne, Mark Twain, Frank Baum, and others at my impressionable age.As a parent interested in providing wholesome, natural, and nutritious food to my kids, McDonald's Happy Meals are near the bottom of the list, but I must admit that I do occasionally provide them this food as a treat (sorry, I'm not perfect.). Would I rather have my kids play with a cheap,disposable toy or help nurture their desire to read? A rhetorical question with an obvious answer: books win.


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