Fast food chain McDonald’s is set to distribute 14 million books featuring extracts from Roald Dahl’s novels over the next six weeks as part of its Happy Reader scheme.
The deal, announced today (22nd September) by McDonald’s, the National Literacy Trust (NLT), Penguin Random House Children’s UK and the Roald Dahl Literary Estate, will mean any parents buying happy meals for children in the UK will receive extracts from novels such as The BFG and George’s Marvellous Medicine.
The eight booklets that will be given away are: Roald Dahl’s Extraordinary Friends (featuring extracts from The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me and The BFG), Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Families (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Fantastic Mr Fox), Roald Dahl’s Magical Mischief (George’s Marvellous Medicine and Matilda), Roald Dahl’s Secret Plans (Esio Trot and The Twits), Roald Dahl’s Curious Characters (The BFG and James and the Giant Peach), Roald Dahl’s Beastly Creatures (The Witches and The Enormous Crocodile), Roald Dahl’s Incredible Inventions (Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and George’s Marvellous Medicine) and Roald Dahl’s Clever Tricks (The Twits and Matilda).
McDonald’s will also give away £1 book vouchers that can be used to buy two new booklets – Spotty Powder and Other Splendiferous Secrets (with a secret chapter from an early draft of Charlie and the Chocolate Factor) and Roald Dahl’s Mischief and Mayhem, with extracts from several Dahl stories – from WH Smith in the UK or Eason in Ireland.
Spotty Powder and Other Splendiferous Secrets will also be available as a free e-book from Kobo.
Steve Hill, head of marketing at McDonald’s UK, said: “Dads like me grew up on the magic of Roald Dahl and his extraordinary characters. Finding time for families to have fun together is all part of a trip to McDonald’s, so I’m thrilled we’re able to introduce the likes of Matilda, James and his Giant Peach and the wonderfully ludicrous Twits to a new generation of readers.
To mark the start of the giveaway, the project partners also conducted a survey 3,000 UK grandparents, kids and parents about books and reading. Half of those surveyed said they want to encourage budding readers, whilst three quarters of mothers and one if five dads said they read to their children regularly.
However, one third of parents said their busy lives and hectic family schedules, with lots of after-school activities, often get in the way.
When the children were asked what they like about being read to, 70% said funny voices, 43% said sound effects and surprising noises, and 27% said funny facial gestures.
Abigail Moss, deputy director of the NLT, said: “Reading and telling stories together as a family is so important in giving children a solid grounding in literacy skills and helping them to reach their full potential. Many parents will have enjoyed the wonderful world of Roald Dahl when they were young and now they’ll be able to share these iconic stories with their children.”