A solid treatment of the inherent problems with day care that no working mother can escape. The book deals with the psychological and emotional costs of enforced separation for both parent and child. The major issue in day care is that we now know the first three years of life are crucial in the child's development. In the child's development of the ability to respond to others, both practically and emotionally, there is no substitute for the nearly-always-present mother who responds immediately to a goo with a smile or hug. On the parent's side of the day-care dilemma, Maynard says she firmly believes any working mother unable or unwilling to put her career on hold for those crucial three years is depriving herself of one of life's greatest experiences: the earliest flowering of her creation. Having made her statement on that issue, however, Maynard goes on to an effective defense of day care as a vital necessity for parents and society. The numbers make it so: the increasing divorce rate, the increasing number of working women. In some cases, she points out, babies were created because day care was available. The big question for Maynard and many others involved in day care is whether even the best possible services can ever be an adequate substitute for a mother's nurturance. After covering the emotional issues, Maynard gives practical advice about how to inspect a day-care center, what to look for in the staff, how to talk to them. A problem is staff turnover. Long hours, low status, and low pay may cause turnover of such magnitude that a child may be exposed to too many strangers in too short a time for his well-being. An appendix lists organizations that provide information about day care and centers. There is a brief note, which gives the impression of having been tacked on as an afterthought, concerning sexual abuse by center staffs. Here Maynard offers a piece of advice that seems useful: never let your child attend a center that will not allow parents to make unannounced visits. A lively, easy-to-read discussion of the issues, this deserves to be read by all those who have to face the day-care question.