Would you like a side of children's literacy with your burger?
Now through Feb. 15, McDonald's is offering slightly less guilt-inducing Happy Meals that come with books instead of toys. McDonald's hopes to distribute 17 million books to kids over the course of the program.
The books will vary by date and location, but most stores will give away one of four books with each meal including the Valentine's Day themed books, "Pete the Cat: Valentine's Day is Cool" by Kimberly and James Dean; "Clark the Shark Takes Heart" by Bruce Hale; and "Happy Valentine's Day, Mouse!" by Laura Numeroff; as well as the classic children's story "Paddington" by Michael Bond.
The books are conveniently sized to fit inside the Happy Meal box and Spanish language versions will be available at most stores.
In addition to the books McDonald's is putting in the kids' meals, the fast food giant announced plans to donate 10,000 books to the children's literacy group Reading is Fundamental. Carol H. Rasco, president and CEO of Reading is Fundamental, expanded on the benefits of the program in an interview with Fox News.
"There’s magic in books, and the simple act of reading with our children has a profound impact on their educational development," she said. "By giving them choices and increasing access to books, we can make a lasting difference in the lives of those who need us most."
There has been some fallout on social media from parents complaining that McDonald's should just let "kids be kids," and keep the toys in the box. But for the most part, the response has been overwhelmingly positive, with most parents realizing that there is no better way to let a kid be a kid than to offer up a cozy lap, a good book, and a snuggly reading session with mom or dad.