You caught me. I eat a McDonald’s. Not everyday, but I eat there. The deal I make with myself is that I can eat McDonald’s if I choose from the kid’s menu. This has recently left me with a bucket for trick-or-treating, a Tin Man figurine and books. That’s right, books. This month McDonald’s teamed up with Reading is Fundamental to offer books in Happy Meals.
I think we can all agree that giving kids and families access to books is a good thing. But via Happy Meal? Less of us can agree on that. Let’s consider this, having books in the home can affect children’s future success in reading and other learning objectives. This partnership put books in homes, perhaps homes where there were no books before. Is it a perfect solution to closing the gap between families who have books in the home and those who don’t? Probably not. But if folks are going to buy the Happy Meals anyway, why not send them away with something that will contribute to their child’s literacy?
I read two of the books: The Goat Who Ate Everything and Deana’s Big Dreams. Each book has a nice balance of text on each page–making them great reads for a wide age range. The illustrations compliment the stories well and are appealing. Both books include messages about healthy eating. While this gives the books a bit of a didactic feel, it doesn’t completely overwhelm the story. These books are not the best of children’s literature…but they’re not the worst. I found them enjoyable to read and I plan on keeping them around. They’ll be great books to pack for car trips and airplane rides with my little one.
In future iterations of this program (which are in the works), I’d love to see McDonald’s and Reading is Fundamental get some well-known children’s authors on board. Wouldn’t it be great to see Eric Carle or Mo Willems books sent to homes in this volume? Also, it would be great to see library partnership come into play. Whether on a national scale with ALA or a small-scale with franchises and local libraries, this program could be a huge opportunity to invite new families and non-users to check out their local library where they can access even more great books–for free!