Are you sick of your child begging for a Happy Meal from McDonald's just so they can get the toy? What if the Happy Meal "prize" were a book instead?

In a move that is about to put 20 million books into the hands of young children, McDonald's has recently announced a new campaign to hand out books instead of toys in its notorious Happy Meals during the two-week period between Nov. 1 and 14.

McDonald's has been trying to remake the image of the traditional Happy Meal for a number of years, ever since consumer groups starting pointing the finger at it for its role in child obesity. The fast-food giant began by offering the option to swap out fries for fruit at the parent's request, then rolled out a plan to automatically include the fruit and slash the fry portion in half. In the future, Happy Meals will no longer come with a soft drink.

In this latest move to remake the Happy Meal, McDonald's is swapping out the bane of many parent's existence — the cheap, plastic, brand-marketed toy — for a book. (Although it will also be brand-marketed and will probably come soon with its own cheap, plastic toy.)

The books to be featured in the new Happy Meals aim to "combine the fun of the Happy Meal, new partners, and technology to inspire more family reading time," said Ubong Ituen, vice president of marketing for McDonald's USA, in a statement. The four books will feature McDonald's own animated animals, including a goat, ant, dodo bird and a dinosaur. According to Lisa McComb, a McDonald's spokeswoman, the books will focus on nutrition, imagination and active play.

It's better than a toy, but some consumer groups are still not happy, claiming that this campaign is just another way for McDonald's Happy Meals to appear healthier than they really are. They argue that a child who is eating a burger and fries and drinking a soft drink while reading a book about nutrition that came with their meal may assume that this meal should be part of a healthy diet.  

What do you think about McDonald's new plan to hand out millions of books to young kids?

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