McDonald's replaces Happy Meal toys with Roald Dahl books

Ljubljana, Slovenia - September 3, 2011: Close-up of McDonalds outdoor sign with  typical rounded yellow M letter against cloudless blue sky. Sign is positioned on the left side of image.
Photo credit: Getty

McDonald's is replacing its famous Happy Meal toys with Roald Dahl books for six weeks to encourage Kiwi kids to read. 

The fast food giant is handing out nearly 800,000 copies of the British novelist's books with every kid's meal sold in New Zealand.

The books included will be the Fantabulous BFG, Lucky Charlie Bucket, Brave Little Sophie, Wonderful Willy Wonka, Marvellous Miss Honey and Matilda.

Each book will include stickers and activities, and all are complete with iconic Quentin Blake illustrations. 

McDonald's replaces Happy Meal toys with Roald Dahl books
Photo credit: McDonald's

"The Happy Meal Readers programme is all about helping parents to get their children to enjoy reading," says McDonald's NZ marketing director Jo Mitchell. 

"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."

In 2017, the restaurant permanently added books as an option instead of a toy in all Happy Meals.

A recent survey conducted by The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) found that 40 percent of Kiwi adults could not read at a day-to-day functioning level. It also found that literacy in New Zealand primary school aged children had decreased in the last five years.

McDonald's says the trial, which has been running since January 24, hopes to inspire a lifelong passion for reading in Kiwi kids. 

A different Roald Dahl book will be available with Happy Meals each week during the trial, or each can be purchased individually. 


The six week book distribution: 


Week One: 

24 January to 30 January

Fantabulous BFG

Week Two:

31 January to 6 February

Amazing Matilda

Week Three:

7 February to 13 February

Lucky Charlie Bucket

Week Four:

14 February to 20 February

Brave Little Sophie

Week Five:

21 February to 27 February

Wonderful Mr Willy Wonka

Week Six:

28 February to 6 March

Marvellous Miss Honey