McDonald's probably won't solve your kid's poor eating habits, so now the fast food behemoth will attempt to solve your kid's poor reading habits (or pitiful lack thereof) instead. With books. Real ones!
Let us explain. In honor of National Family Literacy Day on November 1, the chain restaurant will be giving out books in lieu of toys with its Happy Meals for two weeks next month. So far so good. But any joy that news sparks in English teachers will be curtailed by the literary selections Ronald McDonald will soon be feeding your child: not Dahl, not Dickens, but "original books" from the chain-restaurant-turned-publishing house:
Throughout the two-week Happy Meal Books offer, families will be able to enjoy four original books featuring McDonald’s Happy Meal characters. Each limited-edition book brings nutrition, imagination and play to life in a fun way.
Your child likely learned to read at least in part by parsing out advertisement slogans, so why not let him or her continue the life of letters with a full-scale immersion into fast food marketing fantasies? Here, via the restaurant's "Newsroom," is a sneak peek at the Shape of Literature To Come:
- “The Goat Who Ate Everything” – Tells a story of a goat who has a big appetite and struggles to eat right. But when he does, he feels great and becomes the playful ‘kid’ everyone loves.
- “Deana’s Big Dreams” – Shares how Deana, the world’s smallest dinosaur, grew tall by eating right.
- “Ant, Can’t” – Features Ant, a bite-sized bodybuilder who’s big on encouraging physical fitness through exercise and eating right.
- “Doddi the Dodo Goes to Orlando” – Follows happy-go-lucky bird Doddi who travels the world. She eats right because this dodo is always on the go-go.
Clearly, they're really going with the animal-characters-learning-good-eating-habits theme and running with it (though none of those animals appear on McDonald's menu, thankfully). The company is also partnering with the nonprofit Reading is Fundamental to distribute these books to kids "who do not have easy access to books" and rolling out a series of free interactive e-books.
Alas, they're a few hours too late for the literature Nobel Prize, but there's always next year.