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February 22, 1985

Children: A Handbook for Children's Doctors

JAMA. 1985;253(8):1181-1182. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03350320107033

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Webster's Ninth Collegiate Dictionary defines a "handbook" as "A concise reference book covering a particular subject." This book certainly meets that definition. There is some reference material here that I found hard to obtain elsewhere.

I had some trouble deciding exactly whom the book is intended for. Clearly it is intended primarily for British physicians. American physicians will have little trouble with such Briticisms as "nappy" for "diaper" and "dummy" for "pacifier." But much of the reference material is based entirely on British populations. This necessarily limits the usefulness of the book for the American reader. Still, some of the material is quite useful, especially the discussion of developmental progress.

The text is of uneven quality. In places it is very detailed; I learned a lot about the use of Bayes' theorem in genetic counseling. Bayes' theorem allows one to make the maximum use of probability, taking into account data