In an unlikely partnership that would make Augustus Gloop jump for joy, the estate of Roald Dahl has teamed up with fast-food franchise McDonald's to give away millions of his brilliant books for free.
Over a six week period, 14 million specially created books will be given away with Happy Meals, each of which will feature extracts from some of Roald Dahl’s most popular works including The BFG, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr Fox and The Witches.
There will be eight books available, each of which combines stories from two Dahl books. For instance, Roald Dahl’s Clever Tricks includes extracts from both Matilda and The Twits.
In pictures: Roald Dahl's most enduring characters
In pictures: Roald Dahl's most enduring characters
1/12 Willy Wonka from 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'
Willy Wonka (pictured being played by Gene Wilder in 1967) is a bizarre and slightly unsettling man but who can say no to that delicious chocolate?
2/12 The Oompa Loompas from 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'
Despite the characters' questionable evolution from being African pygmies in early editions of the novel, the Oompa Loompas were so fantastical they captured the imagination of generations. The first film's version of the characters are still a popular fancy dress theme.
3/12 Veruca Salt from 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'
The girl who "wants it now" is so incredibly vile she ended up in the rubbish after being judged a bad nut by Willy Wonka's squirrels. An American alternative rock band even took her name.
4/12 The Twits from 'The Twits'
Mr and Mrs Twit are horrible, hideous and hateful, coating trees with glue to catch birds to at. But the Roly-Poly Bird and Muggle-Wumps teach them a lesson in the end.
Quentin Blake/House of Illustration
5/12 James from 'James and the Giant Peach'
James is beaten and starved by his cruel aunts after his parents are eaten by an escaped rhino but eventually gets to go on an adventure with the friends he has always waited for on his magic peach, ending up on the top of the Empire State Building.
6/12 Matilda from 'Matilda'
Every little girl who read 'Matilda' wondered what it would be like to be the main character. Apart from th abusive family, the telekinesis must be endless fun.
7/12 Miss Trunchbull from 'Matilda'
Miss Trunchbull, played by Pam Ferris in the 1996 film, is the aunt and headmistress of every child's worst nightmares. Just think of poor Bruce Bogtrotter and that cake.
8/12 The Big Friendly Giant from 'The BFG'
A 24-foot-tall BFG works giving out good dreams to children and saves them all from people-eating giants. Shame about the snozzcumbers.
9/12 The Grand High Witch from 'The Witches'
The Grand High Witch, seen here in the film, must be one of Dahl's most terrifying creations. Turning children into slugs and squishing them, she wanted to destroy them all, she had no hair or toes and claws for hands.
10/12 Mr Fox from 'Fantastic Mr Fox'
Mr Fox outsmarts those silly farmers, feeding his family by killing their chickens and avoiding starvation.
11/12 George from 'George's Marvellous Medicine'
Some people would say that swapping your gran's medicine with poison isn't ok but that isn't the point here.
12/12 Grandma from 'George's Marvellous Medicine'
Grandma was quite a character until she vanished: 'She was selfish grumpy old woman. She had pale brown teeth and a small pucker-up mouth like a dog's bottom.'
The campaign has been backed by the National Literacy Trust (NLT), with deputy director Abigail Moss saying: “The scale of the campaign will reach millions of children, including many who haven’t owned a book before, inspiring them to enjoy reading and improving their life chances.”
Research done alongside the announcement by the NLT found that families are reading books together less and less, with three quarters of mums, one in five dads and one in 10 grandparents reading to children.
More shockingly, a study by the NLT last year found that 15.4 percent of children don't own a book, while only 55.4 percent enjoy reading 'very much' or 'quite a lot'.
“Reading and telling stories together as a family is so important in giving children a solid grounding in literacy skills and helping them to reach their full potential,” Moss continued. “Many parents will have enjoyed the wonderful world of Roald Dahl when they were young and now they’ll be able to share these iconic stories with their children.”
Roald Dahl died in 1990 but has made headlines numerous times this year. The first Roald Dahl approved BFG illustration was made available online in July, The Twits got a theatrical treatment at the Royal Court and an essay Dahl wrote about the death of his daughter sparked a debate in the US about measles vaccination.
Here's the full list of books available.
Roald Dahl’s Extraordinary Friends (featuring The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me and The BFG)
Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Families – (featuring Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Fantastic Mr Fox)
Roald Dahl’s Magical Mischief – (featuring George’s Marvellous Medicine and Matilda)
Roald Dahl’s Secret Plans – (featuring Esio Trot and The Twits)
Roald Dahl’s Curious Characters – (featuring The BFG and James and the Giant Peach)
Roald Dahl’s Beastly Creatures – (featuring The Witches and The Enormous Crocodile)
Roald Dahl’s Incredible Inventions – (featuring Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and George’s Marvellous Medicine)
Roald Dahl’s Clever Tricks – (featuring The Twits and Matilda)Reuse content