Children are inundated with popular character images that span across films, television shows, the Internet, clothes, lunchboxes, and toys. At the same time, parents and educators are urged to maintain an anxious distinction between “educational” toys and mass-marketed toys. This book reports on a study that integrates education and communication perspectives, examining the mechanisms of both pretend play and children''s consumer culture. When children pretend play, they communicate - through enactment and storytelling - narratives and motifs from a variety of cultural sources. The study focuses on one narrative template: the promotional character toy, that is, replica models of characters seen in television and films. It explores the complex and often less discernable ways children use play to emulate or alter the roles they are offered through these toys.