McDonald's partners with HarperCollins in book promotion

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

McDonald_Books_250 McDonald’s UK is to hand out around nine million popular children’s books with its Happy Meals, as part of a new partnership with publishing house HarperCollins.

The promotion aims to get books into the hands of families and support mums and dads in reading with their children.

From Wednesday 11 January to Tuesday 7 February 2012, McDonald’s will offer its Happy Meals customers copies of Mudpuddle Farm series of books by Michael Morpurgo, former children’s laureate and War Horse author.

Families will be able to take home copies of favourite titles including ‘Mossop’s Last Chance’ and ‘Martians at Mudpuddle Farm’. Each book comes with a finger puppet to help parents bring the stories to life for their children, and to encourage children of all reading abilities to use their imagination and create their own tales.

The announcement follows research released by the National Literacy Trust in December which revealed that almost four million children in Britain – one in three – do not own a book.

Jonathan Douglas, director of The National Literacy Trust, says: “Our recent research showed that one in three children in this country don’t own a book, which is extremely concerning as there is a clear link between book ownership and children's future success in life. We are very supportive of McDonald’s decision to give families access to popular books, as its size and scale will be a huge leap towards encouraging more families to read together.”

Father-of-two Jeff Brazier, who is supporting the Happy Meal books promotion, says: “Reading was a big part of my childhood. A real treat for me was sitting down with football annuals and comic books that I'd bought with my granddad. Knowing what a head start it gave me, I now try to read as much as I can with my boys. Reading to them at bedtime is the perfect end to their day.”

The McDonald’s Happy Meal book promotion will include six titles from the Mudpuddle Farm range: Mossop’s Last Chance; Albertine, Goose Queen; Pigs Might Fly!; Jigger’s Day Off; Martians at Mudpuddle Farm; Mum’s the Word. Books will also be available to purchase at McDonald’s restaurants without the need to buy a Happy Meal.

While one can but say that giving children books and encouraging them to become readers and bring to them the love of reading – something that will lead them, in the end, to learn without actually knowing that they do – the Happy Meals are certainly not something that is good for children. Reading is, Happy Meals aren't.

However, on the other hand, books that will, hopefully, give children a love of books it is a move that can but be commended even if we would not wish to commend the so-called food that is being “created” at McDonald's.

Maybe some other, better places, could think of doing promotions of good books for children...

© 2012