National Family Literacy MonthIn our Weekend Links post today, we featured a story from Digital Book World about the McDonald’s and National Family Literacy Month promotion. Their headline was Free Children’s Books With Those Fries: Are Digital Books the Literary Equivalent of Junk Food?

Now I’m not a huge fan of McDonald’s (although I will admit to the odd craving for their small cheeseburgers), but I thought the headline was unfair. I took the time to read a two of the books that are being given away with Happy Meals. (You can download them as free PDFs.) No, they weren’t award-winning children’s literature, but they were decent books.

I thought The Goat Who Ate Everything was pretty cute. The art was engaging, the rhyming was clever, and the message of “unhealthy eating can make you sick” was well presented. Not surprisingly, at the end of the book, the goat cleaned up his eating habits and was happier and healthier, but there was a twist at the end, and the message wasn’t heavy-handed.

Is this an effort for McDonald’s to garner some good press and offset some of the image of unhealthy fast food? Sure, but I thought they did it well and to call the books “the literary equivalent of junk food” was an unnecessary cheap shot.

Anyone else actually bought a Happy Meal and seen one of the physical books? Did you kids like them, or were they disappointed to not get a toy?


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