This latest Bank Street offering is full of the joy of language and the magic of books, so parents bent on training their preschoolers in specific skills will largely be disappointed. What Boegehold presents is a series of insights into overall child development matched with low-key activities designed to enhance language development, concept formation, listening skills, and, most of all, involvement with the printed word. Age by age, there are suggestions for learning-materials (objects that ""open, close, snap, and zip"" for toddlers, Frog-and-Toad-like lists of ""things to do today"" for fours and fives), instructions for games, guidelines for everyday dialogues and questions, pointers on things to avoid (frightening fantasies for twos, ""hysterical hype"" about computer software, ""overteaching"" to satisfy an adult agenda). The preeminent subject, however, is ways of reading aloud: ""the best help you can give to your child."" There are reading lists, read-aloud ideas, a few questioning techniques (with the injunction that ""story time mustn't turn into examination time""). And then, disconcertingly, there is a chapter--containing twelve ""practice sheets""-intended to give children ""some prior exeprience with the format or makeup of the type of testing given in schools."" (One sheet has to do with ""Auditory/Visual Discrimination: Matching Initial Sounds""; another, with ""Making Judgments and Comparisons: Recalling Information."") And despite Boegehold's repeated admonition (""Remember: This is a game, not a test""), parents and children alike will see the ""games"" for what they are: ""readiness prep"" materials for future SAT candidates. Still, if parents can accept the premise that the way to better performance on the ""practice sheets"" is through the activities, then all will be well enough.