Happy meals in Britain are getting a little more literary.
Is there an activity that combines whooping and weeping and shaking one's head at the weirdness and occasionally the wonderfulness of the world?
If so, that activity would make an apt reaction to the following news: McDonald's restaurants across the U.K. are going to start distributing books, instead of toys, in their Happy Meals. For the next five weeks, as part of the chain's "Happy Readers" promotion, the McDonald's kids' meals will include non-fiction books from DK Books's "Amazing World" Series -- books with kid-friendly titles like "Stars and Planets," "Big Cats," and "Oceans."
It's easy to make fun of the experimental McLiterature initiative -- in the way that it's easy to make fun of McDonald's itself. But the chain is, like it or not, a juggernaut ... one that has, as such, immense power over the impressionable kids among its customers. And this could be one way -- one small way that, via McDonald's mass impact, could prove significant -- to get kids excited about reading. The initiative, Yahoo Shine reports, was inspired by data from Britain's National Literacy Trust -- data revealing that, out of a group of 21,000 only half of them said they liked reading "very much" or "a lot."