“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.
With more and more kids enslaved to the screen from as young as they can remember, the push to ensure that children are still able to get lost in a book and let their imaginations roam free is more important than ever.
Over in New Zealand, the giant fast-food chain recognizes this and has replaced the tacky plastic toys you would often find in a Happy Meal with the whimsical works of Roald Dahl, a renowned children’s author that my generation grew up on.
“The Happy Meal Readers programme is all about helping parents to get their children to enjoy reading,” said Jo Mitchell, director of marketing at McDonald’s New Zealand.
“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.”
The scheme is a positive step to arrest declining literacy rates, especially among teenagers, in some western countries.
However, it could be argued that it is parents, and not giant fast food corporations, that should be at the front line of the battle to keep kids reading. Books are available for free at your local library, so you don’t need to expand your kids’ waistlines in order to expand their minds!
The books, which also include activities and stickers, feature extracts from Dahl classics such as The BFG, Matilda, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and Fantastic Mr. Fox. Because really, it would be incredibly unfair if the next generation were to miss out on these wonderfully weird adventures.
Not only are these kinds of Happy Meals helping kids to stay curious, but they are better for the environment too. Gone are the tacky, cheap plastic toys that would, in most cases, go directly to the landfill or even worse, the ocean.