#HappyReaders with Roald Dahl at McDonalds

All kids love a Happy Meal don’t they?

It always feels like a treat for them, and for a very reasonable price, the kids get fed and also get a new toy – bonus!

I cannot tell you how many McDonalds toys we’ve collected over the years… probably millions! We do keep a lot of them because the children do go back and play with them again and again. But I have to admit to throwing many away when the kids aren’t looking!

Somehow though, I don’t think I’ll be throwing away any of the new offerings about to hit Happy Meals from today!

McDonald’s UK is bringing the extraordinary world of Roald Dahl to life for millions of children through a landmark books partnership.

Over the next six weeks, 14 million books featuring extracts from Roald Dahl’s most popular stories will be distributed as part of McDonald’s Roald Dahl Happy Meals. Families will be able to discover the famous author’s magical universe of characters, from the BFG and his ‘human beans’, to mischievous George and his Marvellous Medicine.

The results of a major, cross-generational survey of more than 3,000 UK grandparents, kids and parents on books and reading, are being released to mark the start of a landmark partnership between McDonald’s Happy Readers, the National Literacy Trust, Penguin Random House Children’s UK and the Roald Dahl Literary Estate.

McDonalds Happy ReadersWe attended a special event at the weekend in McDonalds Charing Cross, London to launch the new #HappReaders Partnership. We received all the books that you can collect with the Happy Meals over the next 14 weeks!

There are eight specially created Roald Dahl books being featured in the Happy Meal. Each book contains extracts from two Roald Dahl books plus brand-new activities. 

  • Roald Dahl’s Extraordinary Friends (featuring The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me and The BFG)
  • Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Families – (featuring Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Fantastic Mr Fox)
  • Roald Dahl’s Magical Mischief – (featuring George’s Marvellous Medicine and Matilda)
  • Roald Dahl’s Secret Plans – (featuring Esio Trot and The Twits)
  • Roald Dahl’s Curious Characters – (featuring The BFG and James and the Giant Peach)
  • Roald Dahl’s Beastly Creatures – (featuring The Witches and The Enormous Crocodile)
  • Roald Dahl’s Incredible Inventions – (featuring Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and George’s Marvellous Medicine)
  • Roald Dahl’s Clever Tricks – (featuring The Twits and Matilda)

mcdonalds happy readers
There are also three books available from £1 from WH Smith or Eason with the Happy Readers £1 book voucher:

  1. Spotty Powder and Other Splendiferous Secrets – featuring a secret chapter from the draft of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that was cut from the published book
  2. Roald Dahl’s Mischief and Mayhem – extracts from favourite Roald Dahl stories, with ideas for tricks and pranks inspired by them
  3. Spotty Powder and Other Splendiferous Secrets is also available as a free ebook via Kobo.

The event was super fun, we got to be involved with a special interactive story-telling experience.

happy readersPhoto credit: David Parry/PA Wire

The children were also given lots of activities to get involved with, including face painting, colouring in and making masks….

happy readers mcdonalds

As parents, we know how important it is to instill a love of reading into our children. I know how difficult this can be, especially with all day kids TV channels, tablets and games consoles. I sometimes have to force my children to pick up a book themselves, although they do absolutely love being read to. Any form of encouragement kids can get to read more these days, is an absolute godsend!

That’s why I’m super happy that McDonalds are adding these books to their childrens’ meals.

This isn’t he first time though. Since 2013 McDonald’s has distributed more than 22.8m books through its Happy Meals and Happy Readers programme.  McDonald’s Happy Readers campaign was created to put more books into the hands of families, with recent research from the National Literacy Trust showing that only half of children enjoy reading and almost one in seven don’t have a book of their own. This is shocking to me.

But even if your children ARE addicted to their tablets (as mine are), technology can help bring stories to life, through storytelling tools such as live sounds effects. So, in addition to the 14 million books, McDonald’s UK has developed a new, original companion app that will bring to life scenes straight from Roald Dahl’s imagination through sounds, colour and motion.

Available from Wednesday 23rd September, the Happy Readers Companion App immerses readers in the magical world of Roald Dahl with a selection of activities and voice activated sounds and animations! You can download the App for iOS and Android devices by searching Happy Studio!

We’ve already tried it and it’s lots of fun!

mcdonalds happy readers

The National Literacy Trust is a charity that transforms lives through literacy. They want to get more families reading because children who read in their own time do better at school and later in life.

Here are some of their top tips for reading with children:

  • Bring the story to life by using different voices for the characters. Try out a greedy, gravelly tone for the Enormous Crocodile or a wise and whispery voice for the grandmother.
  • Make your child the author! Stop at exciting moments in the story and ask your child to invent what happens next.
  • Make reading with your child a special time for you both every day.
  • Children of all ages love to hear stories read aloud. Don’t stop reading to your children just because they can read by themselves.
  • Let your child help choose the books that you’ll read together. If your child is excited by the subject, the story will hold their interest better.

Look out for the books the next time you order a Happy Meal and create your very own little #HappyReaders 🙂

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