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McLit? UK McDonalds to Offer Books Instead of Toys in Happy Meals

Happy Meal

Literacy vs. Obesity: What's a more important issue?

It’s totally genius, if you think about it. Offer books instead of toys in a Happy Meal and kids might clamor for the unhealthy food a bit less. (Of course many kids love to read, but what’s more fun — a trip to the toy store or a trip to the library?)

Except the McDonald’s books are fun. And they come with a finger puppet. Which means maybe they’re an even better offering than a crappy plastic toy that often gets discarded with the empty French fries wrapper.

So it’s totally genius. For McDonald’s bottom line, that is. But it really won’t cure kids from clamoring for Happy Meals. So McDonald’s wins, and the fight against childhood obesity rages on. One step forward, two steps back?

Starting February 7, McDonald’s in the UK will hand out 9 million copies of Michael Morpurgo’s Mudpuddle Farm series of books, according to The Huffington Post. Each book will also come with a finger puppet.

The National Literary Trust supports the move, saying that in the UK, one in three kids does not own a book.

But others think the marketing strategy is inappropriate, including the Children’s Food Campaign.

So it seems like it’s an issue of Literacy vs. Obesity. If only one can come out on top in this situation, which should it be?

What do you think? Will kids want Happy Meals regardless, so it’s better to give a book than a toy? Or should Happy Meals just be abolished entirely?

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