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Edited by Lawrence Miall, Mary Rudolf, Malcolm Levene. Published by Blackwell, Oxford, 2007, £18.99 (paperback), pp 152. ISBN 10 1‐4051‐4845‐4
It is a daunting prospect to learn paediatrics at undergraduate level. With increasing time constraints, students can now find themselves having to learn about the myriad of paediatric conditions in just 6 weeks. It is therefore of utmost importance for textbooks to be written in a clear and concise manner. This is something that the authors obviously had in mind when writing the excellent second edition of Paediatrics at a glance.
I should probably admit now that I was already a fan of the first edition. In fact, having left medical school just over a year ago, it seems very recently that I was desperately attempting to memorise its contents! It, along with the whole “At a glance” series, was an invaluable learning aid for both myself and countless numbers of my peers.
Some of you may not be familiar with the “At a glance” series. It is an expanding family of books aimed largely at undergraduate students with subjects as diverse as medical pharmacology and psychiatry. The aim of each volume in the series is to provide a thorough yet succinct guide to a subject with a set page design of simple schematic diagrams and lists followed by explanatory text.
The first edition was comprised of sections on evaluation of the child, child development, community paediatrics, acute problems, common symptoms, surveillance, the neonate, chronic illness and disability. Although the bulk of the information contained in the first edition has been carried over to the second, there are considerable differences in both substance and style.
The first major and most noticeable change is the addition of colour. It freshens up the book, adds impact to the different sections and will probably help those who favour a visual learning approach. The order has also changed, making it a more logical read with the sections organised largely by age. It has also added the current vogue topics of allergy and obesity along with a useful section on the collapsed child. Particularly useful are the restructured areas on “common problems in childhood”. This allows the evolving clinician to learn paediatrics as their patients will eventually present. The reader is able to learn about the causes and treatment of a wide range of common complaints such as vomiting, diarrhoea or fever without looking up the many causative diseases independently.
The book is primarily designed for medical students, doctors at the start of postgraduate training and allied health professionals with an interest in paediatrics. There is perhaps one more use for this text. As I move through my training from constant learner to very occasional teacher, it becomes apparent that the book can be used as the basis for excellent interactive teaching sessions.
In my opinion, it is best used as a supplementary guide to a larger core textbook, which can be referred to when the information provided is a little brief. However, cramming all the core paediatric presentations, acute and chronic conditions into just 150 pages and doing it such in such style is no mean feat. I would not hesitate to recommend this book to medical students, allied health professionals or junior doctors needing to brush up on their paediatric knowledge.knowledge.