Roald Dahl Books Replace Happy Meal Toys

Editor's note: In the interest of further diversifying the content of our blog, SDHC's editorial team has decided to periodically examine national trends in literacy, reading and other pertinent topics in addition to discussing the South Dakota Humanities Council and its programs. 

An overseas chain of McDonald's stores is adding a "scrumdiddlyumptious" element to its famous Happy Meals.

Reading World Abuzz with Restaurants' Innovation

According to The Independent, McDonald's stores in New Zealand are temporarily replacing Happy Meal toys with Roald Dahl books. From now through March, the stores will provide 800,000 of Dahl's books in Happy Meals, including:

  • "Roald Dahl's Fantabulous BFG"
  • "Roald Dahl's "Amazing Matilda"
  • "Roald Dahl's Lucky Charlie Bucket"
  • "Roald Dahl's Brave Little Sophie"
  • "Roald Dahl's Wonderful Mr Willy Wonka"
  • "Roald Dahl's Marvellous Miss Honey"

Encouraging Children to Read, Inspiring Nostalgia

Jo Mitchell, director of marketing at McDonald's New Zealand, told The Independent the initiative is intended to encourage children to read and perhaps inspire a bit of nostalgia for parents.

"The Happy Meal Readers programme is all about helping parents to get their children to enjoy reading," she said.

"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."

Since 2001, McDonald's has distributed more than 370 million books in Happy Meals via the global "Happy Meal Readers" Book Program, which continues to expand and is expected to hit more than 100 markets by 2019, according to a news release from McDonald's.

What are your thoughts on this innovation? Do you think restaurants in South Dakota and elsewhere in the United States should stop "squiff-squiddling around" and hand out books instead of toys?

Read About SDHC Young Readers Programming

The South Dakota Humanities Council, a strong advocate and supporter of young readers in South Dakota, is completely on board with McDonald's innovative idea! Interested in our approach to encouraging children to read more? Click below to find out about our Young Readers South Dakota Festival of Books.