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Kids can get books with their McDonald's Happy Meals — but only in Canada

Kids can get books with their McDonald's Happy Meals — but only in Canada
McDonald's in Canada will offer children's books with Happy Meals. (Alan Diaz / AP)

What's Canada got that America hasn't got? National healthcare, a prime minister who can explain quantum computing — and books in its McDonald's Happy Meals.

The Huffington Post reports that books are now available with Canadian Happy Meals; families buying Happy Meals can choose books or toys for their kids.

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The book giveaway will be a joint project with Kids Can Press, a children's book publisher that produces picture books by Canadian authors and illustrators. Books included with the Happy Meals include Mélanie Watt's "Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend" and the very Canadian-sounding "Making the Moose out of Life" and "The Busy Beaver" by Nicholas Oldland.

(Kids who prefer not to read can still opt for Beanie Boos, small stuffed animals, including a penguin, polar bear and, of course, moose.)

The fast food chain also announced a social media campaign called #OwnaBookGiveaBook, which urges people to take pictures of their bookshelves and post to Twitter or Facebook. Each time the hashtag is used, McDonald's will donate a book to First Book Canada, a charity that provides books to children in need.

McDonald's gave away books in U.S. Happy Meals in 2013, 2015 and 2016, distributing a total of 50 million books. In 2016, the giveaway included children's books in Spanish.

But in 2015, McDonald's in Australia drew the ire of a group that promotes healthy eating for children after the chain announced it would give kids the option of choosing a book as their prize.

"As a parent it's a lot harder to say 'no' to your child if they are asking for a book than it is when they want a 'Minions' toy," said Parents' Jury manager Alice Pryor.

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