Oscar Wilde once observed that ignorance is like an exotic plant--tamper with it and the bloom is gone. Adolescence is the same way. Don't get hairy, say the kids, when Mother with her two semesters of Freud behind her tries to probe. No doubt anxious parents, oblivious of the disrepute in which ""headshrinkers"" are currently held by the young, will gratefully thumb their way through this whoppingly ""authoritative volume, sponsored by the International Association for Child Psychiatry and Allied Professions."" Whether or not they will gain relevant insights, considering the strangely diagrammatic language in which these all too specialized essays are written, is debatable. There is, for instance, the term ""body-image,"" which can create either a purely physical or a psychological ""disturbance."" The term is also ""referred to in the literature with minor variations as self-awareness, self-concept, the self, body-ego, self-identity, ego identity, and body-schema,"" a plethora of synonyms which perhaps may account for the ""disturbance"" in the first place. But what is the use of humor? Being practicing therapists or researchers, the contributors are in dead earnest, and the problems--drugs, sex, delinquency, school, generation gap--quite pressing. Attempts are made to talk ""straight,"" but the clinical coils are overpowering. Even the notable Fritz Redl, after briskly asking ARE WE SURE WE ARE ALL TALKING ABOUT THE SAME THING? drags in his ""armamentarium,"" ""collectomania,"" ""behavioral clusters,"" and so forth. Curiously enough, the three papers on suicide rates seemed the most interesting. Is that poetic justice?