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Happy reads? McDonald's to put 20 million books in Happy Meals

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Most people heading to McDonald's know what to expect: They can get a cheeseburger, fries and a drink. And in November, kids can also get something to read -- 20 million somethings.

McDonald's will distribute 20 million print books in Happy Meals from Nov. 1-14. Each book will feature a McDonald's Happy Meal character and, according to the press release, "brings nutrition, imagination and play to life in a fun way."

A similar program was launched in England in January after a successful pilot project. McDonald's officials said that response to the test book giveaway was "overwhelmingly positive" and that nine out of 10 parents said they wanted to see more book promotions at McDonald's.

The company is also creating a series of custom interactive e-books that will be accessible through its McPlay Happy Meal app (you read that right, its McPlay Happy Meal App). Some of the books will be created by partner DK Publishing, which has a strong record of creating attractive print books. The print Happy Meal books will also be available in an e-book editions.

What are the books that kids will be getting with their fries? There are four. Each also will be available in a downloadable Spanish version too. Here's the official list and description of the books:

"The Goat Who Ate Everything," -- Tells a story of a goat who has a big appetite and struggles to eat right. But when he does, he feels great and becomes the playful 'kid' everyone loves.

"Deana's Big Dreams" -- Shares how Deana, the world's smallest dinosaur, grew tall by eating right.

"Ant, Can't" -- Features Ant, a bite-sized bodybuilder who's big on encouraging physical fitness through exercise and eating right.

"Doddi the Dodo Goes to Orlando" -- Follows happy-go-lucky bird Doddi who travels the world. She eats right because this dodo is always on the go-go

I'm not the target audience, but they sound a little more like lesson books than happy books. But what do I know? In the years since I last ate a Happy Meal, apple slices have been added to it, and its soda has been swapped out for milk, chocolate milk or apple juice.

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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