Children today are growing up in an increasingly commercialisedworld. But should we see them as victims of manipulative marketing,or as competent participants in consumer culture? The Material Child provides a comprehensive criticaloverview of debates about children s changing engagement withthe commercial market. It moves from broad overviews of the theoryand history of children s consumption to insightful casestudies of key areas such as obesity, sexualisation,children s broadcasting and education. In the process, it challenges much of the received wisdom about theeffects of advertising and marketing, arguing for a more balancedaccount that locates children s consumption within a broaderanalysis of social relationships, for example within the family andthe peer group. While refuting the popular view of children asincompetent and vulnerable consumers that is adopted by manycampaigners, it also rejects the easy celebration of consumption asan expression of children s power and autonomy.