What Would Make You McHappy?

May 2014:  Toy, Yogurt, or Book? Hmm….

General Mills has struck a deal with McDonald’s to supply the fast-food giant with an exclusive Yoplait Go-GURT yogurt product for its Happy Meals and Mighty Kids Meals in the United States.

October 2013:  An advocacy group is criticizing McDonald’s announcement that it will include books in its Happy Meals to promote literacy. The fast food chain also announces it will provide more than 20 million books to families in the U.S. and give 100,000 additional books to the literacy non-profit Reading is Fundamental. McDonald’s has been aggressively trying to improve its menu offerings and image, announcing last month it would offer more fruits and vegetables.

You Want Fries with That Book? (earlier post from 2012)

According to a report in the Huffington Post online, McDonald’s will provide a book rather than a toy with Happy Meals served in England. The Brits are such literary show-offs.  A bit of Shakespeare, maybe? “But soft, what book through yonder burger and fries beckons?”

Apparently, the chosen text will be Mudpuddle Farm, a charming children’s selection written by Michael Morpurgo. Sounds good, and it might alleviate the bad taste left by the Happy Meal struggle in San Francisco where city officials banned the toys altogether.  A few critics in England still aren’t “happy.”  They complain that it promotes fast-food childhood obesity, but general reaction seems positive.
The booklet apparently comes with a finger puppet, so it’s probably best that George Orwell’s Animal Farm wasn’t chosen.  Napolean the dictatorial pig would not be much of a role model for the kids. They probably will also avoid a cow finger puppet. Might be tough explaining to your imaginary finger friend why you’re eating its cousin.
But many will look at this as a public relations victory for McDonald’s.  This goes along with their new ad campaign that praises the ethical, hard-working ranchers and farmers who provide beef and other products for the corporation. It’s slick—kinda makes you feel as if Lonesome Dove Duvall took time off his cattle round-up to serve you a freshly grilled burger.  The public media drive must be working: McDonald’s recently announced thousands of new job hirings.

I’m not much of a McFoodie, but I’ll leave it to others to decide about their eating choices.  I am a big proponent of reading, so who knows—maybe this will start a trend.  I can envision all fast-food restaurants providing books for kids.  Sounds good as long as the reverse doesn’t happen.  I’d hate to see a child check a book out and the librarian ask, “You want fries with that?”  by dan gogerty (photo right from cherylbooks.wordpress; photo left from businessinsider)

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