McDonald’s Happy Meals are a fast-food staple and perhaps the most foundational aspects of these iconic meals are the awesome toys that are hiding inside every box. But in New Zealand, McDonald’s has decided to temporarily get rid of the toys and instead give kids books by one of the most beloved children’s authors of all-time: Roald Dahl.
According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, McDonald’s in New Zealand will be giving out 800,000 booklets by the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, and countless other beloved titles over the next six weeks.
“The Roald Dahl characters are ones that many parents will have enjoyed growing up, and it’s great to play a part in introducing them to a new generation,” Jo Mitchell, director of marketing at McDonald’s New Zealand, told The Independent.
Of course, considering that many of the books listed are well over 100 pages, full-length versions of BFG or Matilda will not be featured in Happy Meals. Instead, McDonald’s will be giving away abridged versions of these classics. A similar promotion was done in the UK back in 2015, with more than 14 million abridged versions of Roald Dahl books being given away in Happy Meals.
Sadly, this brilliant switcheroo is only currently happening at McDonald’s in New Zealand but hopefully, the US will get on board and start giving out classic kid’s books instead of toys most kids will have tossed out by the end of the day anyway. McDonald’s launched the Happy Meal Readers Program in 2001 and stores have given away over 450 million books since then. In 2018, the chain said it hopes to expand the program to more than 100 markets by the end of 2019.