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Paediatrics and Child Health. Edited by Levene M. (Pp 416; paperback; £24.95.) Oxford: Blackwell Science Ltd, 1999. ISBN 0 865 42957 X.
The “unique selling points” of this book are its problem orientated approach, boxed summaries of important topics, and integrated cover of community child health in addition to hospital paediatrics. As with all modern textbooks for the medical student this has plenty of colour and many illustrations, with enough lists to learn to make revision feel meaningful.
Does it succeed as a new breed of textbook? Problem orientated approaches are certainly fashionable, and reading this feels more realistic than the older approaches of system based disorder. This also makes the book a bit difficult to use as a reference text. The “at a glance” summary boxes are packed full of information and usually helpful.
I found the main strength of this book in the sensible, informative approach to child health issues. The developmental theme is woven into the book, not just in the community chapters. Acute paediatrics is covered in sensible detail, addressing common problems in much greater depth than competing books but sacrificing the snippets of rarities examiners may consider essential. There is too little information to make this a useful book for MRCPCH (member of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health examinations) and there are very few references or suggestions for further reading.
Another colourful textbook of paediatrics might be the dullest book buy of the year; however, if I was to re-run my (not too distant) days as a medical student, I may have been tempted by this book.