Books are now a permanent option on the Happy Meal menu. Following a successful trial in 2016, McDonald’s is giving Kiwi families the choice between a book or a toy with every Happy Meal sold from August 3rd.

“We’ve offered a set of books annually as part of our Happy Meal programme for several years now and it seemed like a natural evolution to make books a permanent option with Happy Meals,” said Jo Mitchell, McDonald’s director of marketing.

“The response to last year’s trial offering the choice of a book or a toy with a Happy Meal was extremely positive. While toys remain a popular option, parents told us they liked having the choice.”

According to OECD research, reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s future success. “We want to use our scale as New Zealand’s largest group of family restaurants to have a positive impact on Kiwi families so we’re excited to bring families together to spend time reading and learning,” explained Mitchell.

OECD research indicates that reading books with young children is strongly related to better performance when children reach the age of 15.

“The option to choose a book with a Happy Meal encourages kids to pick up books and is a step towards improving reading engagement in Kiwi communities,” said Mitchell.

The addition of the eight books available in Happy Meals this year brings the total number of books McDonald’s has distributed over the last four years to over 2.4 million, making the company New Zealand’s largest children’s book distributor.

The books available will change with each Happy Meal programme to ensure a wide range of interests are catered for. The first books available are WOW! Space and WOW! Human Body.

The WOW! range will be followed by Bob Darroch’s Little Kiwi and the Dinosaur and Little Kiwi Looks After the Egg and the ever popular The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor and The Magic School Bus Plants Seeds. For the festive season, Happy Meals will come with the choice of A Kiwi Christmas Carol and Kiwi kid favourite The Kiwi Hokey Tokey.

Along with books, customers will see some changes on the Happy Meal food menu, with the addition of yoghurt and the new McFish burger to the options available.

“We’re always listening to our customers and these changes are a reflection of what they have told us. We’ll continue to listen and try new things to meet the changing needs of Kiwi families.”