Chatty and sketchy guidance, with the emphasis on infancy--where others have been more straightforward, informative, and thorough. Atwood teaches pediatrics at New York's Columbia Presbyterian, ""almost the same thing as saying that I teach child nutrition"" (the competition includes Growing Up Healthy, by that institution's respected nutrition director, Myron Winick); long, sometimes self-conscious conversations with hypothetical patients carry the information. Though normal nutritonal needs are covered for each age group from prenatal to adolescence, later ages get short shrift compared to the in-depth material on breast or bottle feeding for infants. (Atwood endorses breast feeding as much preferable, but he commendably avoids stigmatizing mothers who decide to bottle-feed.) After discussing the normal progression from introduction of solid foods and weaning, through the first school lunches, to adolescence (with brief attention to the needs of teenage athletes), Atwood takes up some common problems of each age group: early on, ""failure to thrive"" and colic; later, obesity, anorexia nervosa, and fast-food abuse. He tries to avoid preaching and to be an advisor, not a voice-of-authority, to parents; but readers may find their own physicians less helpful than Atwood's ideal (in the early weeks, ""close telephone communication"" between mother and pediatrician is ""essential""), and traces of a medical mind-set remain (""improvement of the maternal-child bond is therapeutic in these instances""). The superior entries include, besides Winick's (strong on nutrition-and-illness), Peavy and Pagenkopf's Grow Healthy Kids (on why kids eat what they do) and Dr. Eden's Diet and Nutrition Program for Children (tops for overall guidance).