Thursday, 7 February 2013

Do You Want Books With That?

As a vegetarian of some 30 years' standing, it may come as something of a surprise to see me promoting McDonald's, but I am really impressed with their current initiative.

I'm afraid Lara has been introduced (via desperation on a long road trip) to the perils joys of drive thru, and now knows what the golden arches signify.  She isn't particularly interested in the veggie burger aspect, at home or out, but she does love her 'chipsies'.

Unfortunately, she is also going through that lovely toddler phase of being very, very, very, very particular about what she will and won't eat, and it changes like the wind, varying hour to hour, let alone day to day!

Yesterday, after a very pleasant lunch in town (for me, Steve & Sophia anyway!), at which Lara ate virtually nothing, we passed the M.  Giving in to loud 'chipsy' demands, we bought a Happy Meal, expecting the usual plastic toy tut which would occupy her, along with the fries, on the way home.  To our surprise, the accompanying freebie was a mini Dorling Kindersley Eye Witness paperback about sea creatures, complete with enough facts for any curious child, lots of great pictures for discussion with toddlers, and the all-important stickers.  Most impressed.

Apparently, this is part of a two year partnership between McDonald's, Dorling Kindersley and W.H.Smith, which is backed by the National Literacy Trust.  The Happy Readers campaign also involves having special tokens printed on Happy Meal boxes, entitling children to further books from Smith's for just £1.

With the shocking information that one in three children in the UK don't own a single book, this initiative will play a significant role in physically getting books into those children's hands.  I'm sure it's not stereotyping to say that the children who don't own books are far more likely to set foot in a McDonald's than they are in a library.

It's not difficult to make the link between book ownership and children's future prospects, so anything that can get books into kids' hands is fine by me, especially when they are bright, engaging and colourful like the mini DK ones currently being offered.  Hopefully the presence of these books next to your burger will inspire families to explore them, and show people that reading together can be fun too.

Well done McDonald's!


  1. That is so much better than those plastic toys that end up stored away in cupboards and never used

  2. Viva McDonald! We only go there when we are in London or on trips. It is comforting to know that wherever in the world you are, you'll get the same menu, and like Lara, my older son loves their French fries. I remember going for lunch to a posh restaurant in Naples with my in-laws, when my son refused categorically to eat anything there. I saw the big sign of McDonald's across the square, took him there, got a bag of French fries. The son was happy, ate with gusto. The posh restaurant people looked at me as an evil mother who feeds her some from "there" as opposed to fine dining, lol.

  3. I very rarely go into a McDonald but needed a hot drink whilst standing out side for an hour & that was the only place near by. My friend had a happy meal & I too was impressed at the books, so she passed it on to me to give to Sophie who loves her animals & books.


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