The past decade has been an interesting period for pediatric texts. Inflation, the increase in information, and the vitality of "new" areas such as developmental and behavioral pediatrics have produced a dilemma: how can "everything you wanted to know about pediatrics" fit into one volume that is readable, affordable, and portable?
The problem is greatest for the aspiring generalist, particularly students and house officers, for whom reading time is limited. Not only is there a core of material essential to general pediatrics, but, in addition, the generalist must be able to recognize a myriad of special problems and determine whether to treat, to consult, or to refer. To attempt to include all the general information and all the conditions that need to be recognized results in what is known as a "major" textbook, such as Pediatrics by Rudolph et al (Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1982), a large, cumbersome, expensive reference work.