Scholars in children's literature have frequently commented on the humorous and ideological functions of intertextuality. There has however, been little discussion of the cognitive processes at work in intertextual interpretation and how they provide readers with more interpretive freedom in the meaning-making process. Drawing on research from the field of metaphor studies and the interdisciplinary area of cognitive poetics, this article suggests that the interpretation of foregrounded intertextuality is analogous to the interpretation of metaphoric expression. Current models of metaphor interpretation are discussed before I outline my own intertextuality-based variant. The cross-mapping model developed is then applied to literary intertexts in Inkheart and cultural intertexts in Starcross in order to show how the model might work with intertexts of varying degrees of specificity and that serve different narrative functions. The explanatory power of the cross-mapping model is not limited to cases where elements in the primary storyworld can be directly matched with those in the intertext, but extends to instances that involve a recasting of the intertext and thus retelling as in Princess Bride.