There is converging evidence for the presence of a fast subcortical face-processing route that operates on global face characteristics in the mature brain. Until now, little has been known about the development of such a route, which is surprising given suggestions that this fast subcortical face-processing route might be affected in neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism. To address this, early visual event-related potentials to pictures of fearful and neutral faces containing detailed or global information in 3- to 4-year-old (n = 20), 5- to 6-year-old (n = 25), and 7- to 8-year-old (n = 25) children were compared. In children, emotional processing was driven by detailed information. Developmental effects are discussed in terms of maturation of the fast subcortical face-processing route as well as an increase in experience with facial expressions with age.