'When children read fiction they are exposed to the beliefs which inform and structure their society. The books encourage child readers to internalise particular ways of seeing the world and help shape their development as individuals. Although this process forms a key part of their education, it remains largely invisible. As well as a story, fictions impart a significance to readers - often without revealing its presence or ground - and therefore have considerable potential to socialize their audience. John Stephens analyses this process and shows how fictions can work to constrain or liberate audience responses. He explores picture books as well as historical, realistic and fantastic fictions to show how both a character within the narrative and the implied reader are positioned within ideology. The author considers areas of ideology not previously examined and offers new perspectives on realism and fantasy. The book will be of interest to linguists and teachers as well as to the general reader.'
Source: Back cover.