Ronald McDonald: champion for literacy? Well at least in the UK, he is. From now until February 7th, the fast-food giant long-criticized for being purveyors of unhealthiness and ruiner of children's nutrition is promoting one good habit even as it continues to peddle a bad one: It's giving away books in its Happy Meals instead of toys.
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9 million copies of Michael Morpurgo's Mudpuddle Farm series of books will be distributed with the meals. Morpurgo is most well-known for War Horse, which was adapted by Steven Spielberg into the movie of the same name.
Some note that these giveaways represent a significant amount of books. The usual number of children's books sold each week in the United Kingdom is a mere 1.16 million.
Even as this sounds like a good and positive idea, not everyone's happy. The Daily Mail newspaper quoted someone from a organization called Children's Food Campaign as saying "At a time when we have a childhood obesity epidemic this is clearly an inappropriate marketing strategy."