Roald Dahl is a legendary author. He has created some of the most original and memorable stories that I can think of. As a child, Roald Dahl's books were immensely popular and I grew up on a diet of classics like Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. His books are loved globally on a huge scale and I think it's due to their ability to capture our imagination, giving us a sense of hope and justice, but always set in a fun and magical setting. Whether it was Matilda engineering a life to escape her evil head mistress and negligent parents or poor Charlie inheriting the chocolate factory, we've loved reading the wonderful stories of how the good characters come out on top.
As part of the global celebration of Roald Dahl Day which is marked annually on 13 September, McDonald's have launched its own exclusive Roald Dahl book giveaways in conjunction with its Happy Readers campaign aimed at increasing book ownership amongst kids and encourage both children and parents to find the joy in reading. So, for five weeks only, from Wednesday 13th September McDonald’s has introduced a magical Roald Dahl book in to each Happy Meal. Each book in the series focuses on a different fantastical character from three of Roald Dahl’s best-loved stories: Matilda, The BFG and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Peter Andre is also supporting the campaign and has released a video which can be found on this Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/PJAndre/videos/1432272750220085/. Check it out.
As to my involvement, McDonald's have kindly sent me the eight books to read with my children to share details of the books and their reactions to the stories. As you can see from the photos, they are well produced small books and each book features an extract from the original story, Quentin Blake’s iconic illustrations, activities, stickers and a bookmark that can be torn from the back to help kids keep their place in the book. The titles of the books are: ·
My children haven't heard any Roald Dahl stories before but reading these to them at bedtime was a great way of introducing them to Roald Dahl and the classic characters he created.
The way the little books are designed really is excellent. The little activities help to keep them entertained as part of the stories together with the use of the stickers (I mean, what child doesn’t like stickers?!). The little pop out bookmark is also a nice little touch as an extra novelty and something I used to keep the place in the books for the next nights.
Each book also includes a page of reading tips written by the National Literacy Trust to help parents make reading to their children more fun, such gems as " Bring the story to life by using different voices for the characters. Try out a pompous tone for Augustus, or a high, whiny voice for Veruca" and "Make your child the author! Stop at exciting moments in the story and ask your child to invent what happens next".
The first book we read was Lucky Charlie Bucket and I was amazed at how much they enjoyed it. They were intrigued about little Charlie's poor family and loved hearing about Charlie's turn of fortune with his lucky ticket. The little activity in the middle of the story (following the correct winding path to get Charlie home) was a great way to keep them interested in the story.
For me, these are a great addition to the usual Happy Meal toy giveaways. Personally, reading to my children is very important, not only for their literacy but also to stimulate their imaginations and for us to bond as a family. These little Roald Dahl extracts have helped to introduce my children to stories that I grew up loving and it reminded of just how good Roald Dahl's books are. They were fascinated by the characters and it underlined just why Roald Dahl's characters are so popular, their particular favourites being BFG's encounter with the giant bully Bloodbottler as well as Charlie and his love of chocolate.
I think that the Happy Readers initiative is a fantastic idea. Focusing on an amazing children's author like Roald Dahl and encouraging children to read is a superb initiative. Witnessing my own children react to the characters for the first time convinces me that these books will be a hit in most family households. Just remember, don't forget your scary booming voice when you're reading Bloodbottler's lines...!
Now, with their new found fascination with Roald Dahl, I look forward to getting the full books so that they can hear how the story ends for Lucky Charlie Bucket.
For further information, go to www.mcdonalds.co.uk/happymeal.
DISCLOSURE NOTE: I was provided with these books and sponsored to write about this initiative, but all opinions stated herein are written by me and reflect my own personal views.
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