Restaurant chain McDonald's is to give away nine million copies of Michael Morpurgo's Mudpuddle Farm books in its McDonald's Happy Meals for children, as part of a promotion with HarperCollins Children's Books.
The initiative will run from today, 11th January, to Tuesday 7th February. Customers ordering Happy Meals will be offered a free book from a selection including six titles from Mudpuddle Farm range including Mossop's Last Chance, Pigs Might Fly! and Martians at Mudpuddle Farm, all aimed at children aged six to eight years. The initiative is being publically backed by TV presenter Jeff Brazier.
Each book comes with a finger puppet and books will also be available to purchase at McDonald's restaurants without the need to buy a Happy Meal. In a separate deal, funded by WHS and McDonald's, the boxes also contain a voucher to allow consumers to buy Morpurgo’s Wombat Goes Walkabout or Cockadoodle-doo Mr Sultana! for £1 each, off an r.r.p. of £3.99 and £4.99, from selected W H Smith stores for a limited time.
Morpurgo said: "I'm pleased that nine million children in Britain will be receiving copies of my books during this promotion." His own royalties on the titles will go to his charity, Farms for City Children.
Ann-Janine Murtagh, publisher at HarperCollins Children's Books, added: "We are delighted to be offering mums, dads and children the chance to enjoy books when they visit McDonald's. We hope it will provide a great experience of reading together and also introduce them to the wonderful world of stories by inspiring authors such as Michael Morpurgo."
The campaign is being backed by the National Literacy Trust. Director Jonathan Douglas said: “Our recent research showed that one in three children in this country don’t own a book, which is extremely concerning as there is a clear link between book ownership and children's future success in life.
"We are very supportive of McDonald’s decision to give families access to popular books, as its size and scale will be a huge leap towards encouraging more families to read together.”