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McDonald’s Latest Happy Meal Toy will be a Book

Update Date: Oct 11, 2013 12:03 PM EDT

Fast food giant McDonald's continues to surprise its customers with its new ideas. Just less than a month ago, the chain decided to revamp its happy meals and make them healthier by not advertising soda as the main beverage side. The restaurant also included more healthy side options. Now, instead of the coveted happy meal toys that children love, McDonald's will give out books.

For people who are worried that children will be upset over the lost of toys, this program will only last two weeks next month. During this time, these books could help encourage children to want to read and enjoy reading. These books will be published my none other than the company. The 20 million children's books will focus on nutritional messages that aim to help children learn about healthy eating.

There will be four book titles in total and these books will address what proper and improper eating habits could lead to. For example, one of the books will depict a dinosaur that grows tall due to healthy eating. In another one of the books, a goat will struggle with eating right. Not only will McDonald's give out these books, they plan on taking this reading project digital. The company announced that through its partnership with DK publishing, a digital book will be created and provided every month on its Happy Meals website ( until the end of 2014. Furthermore, McDonald's is also working with Reading is Fundamental, which is a large children's literacy non-profit group. Together, they plan on providing these Happy Meal titles to children who have no access to books. 

"[The books are a] part of a broader book strategy that will combine the fun of the Happy Meal, new partners and technology to inspire more family reading time," the vice president of marketing for McDonald's USA, Ubong Ituen said according to NPR.

Even though these programs and partnerships aim to educate children and motivate them to read, some critics are still skeptical. Sriram Madhusoodanan from Corporate Accountability International believes that these new initiatives are advertising strategies to market parents and children to the food chain. Corporate Accountability International is a watchdog group.

The books program will start Nov. 1 and last till Nov. 14.

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