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McNuggets with a side of 'Paddington': McDonald's serves books in Happy Meals for 2016

McNuggets with a side of 'Paddington': McDonald's serves books in Happy Meals for 2016
McDonald's will serve up books with its Happy Meals for the next two weeks. (Gene J. Puskar / AP)

Would you like fries with that children's book?

From Tuesday through Feb. 15, people ordering Happy Meals at McDonald's will get a book as their prize. More than 17 million books will be distributed this way.

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The Happy Meals will contain one of four books, including the classic "Paddington" by Michael Bond and illustrated by R. W. Alley. The three other titles all have Valentine's Day themes: "Clark the Shark Takes Heart" by Bruce Hale and illustrated by Guy Francis;  "Happy Valentine's Day, Mouse!" by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond; and "Pete the Cat: Valentine's Day Is Cool" by Kimberly and James Dean.

The books are specially made to fit into Happy Meals -- they're petite paperbacks, about 4½ by 5½ inches. Spanish-language versions of the books will be available at some stores.

McDonald's has partnered with the literacy nonprofit Reading is Fundamental, donating 100,000 books to the organization.

McDonald's Happy Meal books for 2016.
McDonald's Happy Meal books for 2016. (McDonald's)

"Reading Is Fundamental is pleased to partner with McDonald's again this year and provide much-needed books to children who have limited access to them," noted Carol H. Rasco, president and CEO. "Books are the building blocks for a better future. They foster the imagination, expand our understanding of the world and fuel a lifelong love of learning. We're pleased McDonald's is helping millions of children discover the joy of reading."

It's the third year that the fast food giant has served up books to kids instead of plastic toys and tchotchkes. In total, the annual McDonald's book giveaways -- in 2013, 2015 and 2016 -- will have distributed 50 million books by the time 2016's giveaway is complete.

Book news and more; I'm @paperhaus on Twitter

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