Nerdy Kids Can Now Choose a Book Instead of a Happy Meal Toy

By Holly Brockwell on at

McDonald's is really trying to shed its "junk food at low prices" image (even though that's why we love it), especially when it comes to feeding the little'uns.

A while back, the company started allowing healthier choices than chips in its Happy Meals (though we've yet to meet a kid that chooses them without parental "encouragement"), and they've now decided to allow swaps for the toys, too.

Previously, kids and adults-pretending-to-be-kids-because-two-quid-is-a-bargain (just me? OK) got a book in their Happy Meal for six weeks of the year, under the Happy Readers scheme. But now, they'll be able to get one all year round if that's their (or their parents') preference.

As kids who were giddy with excitement when the book catalogue went round at primary school, we'd have been pretty thrilled with this news except that 1) Happy Meal toys are also awesome, 2) it's a lot harder to get your mum to buy you some plastic tat than a book, and 3) the choice of books is rubbish.

As per the general trend of Happy Meal toys becoming branded tie-ups with whatever the big kids' companies are trying to push right now, the current book choice is Scooby-Doo and the Haunted Castle or Scooby-Doo and the Werewolf. All the toys are also Scooby-Doo themed.

Does anyone else remember when you could just get a little car or a spade or something? Not a Disney Pixar Cars car, but literally just a toy car? Sigh.

In any case, the books will rotate alongside the toys, and McDonald's is also planning to stop offering plastic toys entirely from next year. Instead, there'll be a choice of soft toy, paper toy (what?) or book.

According to Metro, there'll also be toy amnesties, where people can swap their unloved plastic toys for more sustainable ones, with the plastic being melted down and turned into new toys. Sorry, Woody, it's time. [Metro]