This is the first in-depth study of a preschool child s interaction with picture and story books. Based on five years of intensive observation of the authors daughter, Anna, the book provides detailed, verbatim records of Anna s questions and comments as she listened to books being read aloud. It is a fascinating scholarly contribution to those interested in language acquisition.The first part of the study presents Anna s reactions to six books, ranging from "Where the Wild Things Are "at two years to "The Story of Doctor Dolittle "at four-and-a-half. The authors analyze what Anna said and did, drawing on contextual material to make it clear that initially inexplicable or irrelevant remarks are not only logical but often indicative of underlying emotional dynamics as well.Part two describes Anna s reaction to fictional experience in her own play and spontaneous monologue, of which several examples are transcribed and analyzed in full.The third section begins with two chapters devoted to the visual dimension of Anna s book experience. In chapters dealing with humor, fantasy, plot, narrative, voice, identification, and emotion, the authors use their findings to shed new light on frequently asked but rarely answered questions: What do children laugh at? Are some books too frightening for children? Is a happy ending vital in a story for young children? Can preschoolers understand the difference between fantasy and reality? "