Description: Introducing medical students to pediatrics during their core clinical rotation, and trying to ensure that all the students depart with a competent level of understanding and skill, can be quite challenging. Aiding us in this endeavor is this fine book from England.
Purpose: The text is a concise 100 pages, yet manages to cover, clearly and cogently, a rich curriculum of topics that is a near perfect introduction of pediatric medicine for students.
Audience: It is "written particularly with undergraduate medical students in mind."
Features: Organized in two-page chapters, each of the text's "learning units" cover either a presenting problem (for example, cyanosis; diarrhea; cough; or headache), or general areas (e.g., hearing; sleep; development; or the newborn examination). Of particular note are chapters devoted to issues such as accidents, child abuse, and management of the disabled child or the child with terminal illness. Richly illustrated, nearly half of the text provides well-reproduced color photos of physical findings, line drawings that illustrate key features of anatomy or pathophysiology, radiographs, tables summarizing key points, and diagrams of topics ranging from feeding recommendations in the first year of life to a simplified coagulation pathway. This abundance invites a pleasant and thoughtful exploration of each topic.
Assessment: Given its admirable brevity, the text, of course, is not complete. More problematic, for the U.S. medical student audience (a sometimes unforgiving lot), the British idiom (squint instead of strabismus, nappy instead of diaper) is employed throughout, and the context for chapters addressing the law or resuscitation standards is specifically British. Still, the book's excellent quality, in both substance and style, surmounts these problems, especially if used as an introductory primer in the setting of group discussions, didactic sessions, and further reading on selected topics. Overall, the text is an engaging, informative, first-rate introduction to pediatrics.