McDonald’s Is Swapping Out Happy Meal Toys for Books

Its Happy Meal Readers program in New Zealand offers the diners the delicious literature of Roald Dahl.

London, England - January 1, 2013: McDonald's Fast Food Meal in Brown Paper Bag


London, England - January 1, 2013: McDonald's Fast Food Meal in Brown Paper Bag

Photo by: lenscap67


Would you like a delicious book with that burger? McDonald’s locations in New Zealand are swapping out the cheap plastic toys in Happy Meals for books by Roald Dahl. (Yes. So great.)

Over a six-week period ending on March 6, McDonald’s will distribute about 800,000 books, each specially packaged excerpts from a Road Dahl classic, illustrated by Quentin Blake. The books will also include stickers and activities.

During the weeks ending January 30 and February 6, Happy Meal buyers received “Fantabulous BFG” and “Amazing Matilda,” respectively. In the coming weeks, readers will enjoy “Lucky Charlie Bucket” (February 7-13), “Brave Little Sophie” (February 14-20), “Wonderful Mr. Willy Wonka” (February 21-27) and “Marvellous Miss Honey” (February 28-March 6), MetroUK reports.

The project is part of a global McDonald’s Happy Meal book distribution program, which, according the McDonald’s corporate website, began in Sweden in 2001 and has subsequently expanded into markets around the world.

“To date, McDonald’s and its Franchisees have distributed close to 450 million books globally through Happy Meal Readers,” the company reports. “By making it fun, we can help inspire a lifelong love of reading for kids.”

That’s the stated objective of the New Zealand campaign as well.

"The Happy Meal Readers program is all about helping parents to get their children to enjoy reading," Jo Mitchell, director of marketing for McDonald's New Zealand, told the New Zealand news site Stuff. "The Roald Dahl characters are ones that many parents will have enjoyed growing up, and it's great to play a part in introducing them to a new generation."

Such a cool idea. But of course one doesn’t need to be a fast-food consumer in New Zealand to enjoy Dahl’s literature. If you’ve never read my favorite Dahl book of all, “Danny, the Champion of the World,” I highly recommend checking it out of your local library and settling in for a great read. No Happy Meal purchase required.

Photo: iStock

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