A whopping, 1079-pp. compendium of information on child-rearing from birth to age five--designed in part, to relieve parents of the ""burden"" of deciding what books to read. But even for those with strong muscles and expertise in using an index, this encyclopedic volume marshals too much information too inflexibly to be appealing on a day-to-clay basis. The material is organized chronologically from ""preparing for parenthood"" through Infancy 1--12 (approximately the first year), Toddlerhood 1--3 (12-24 months), and Preschool 1-3 (2(apple)-5 years); within that framework, each chapter has sections on personal-social, intellectual, language, and motor development--as well as suggestions about basic care (eating, sleeping, bathing, toilet training), discussions of family feelings and concerns (discipline, fears, television, nudity), and attention to the ""total education of your child"" (matching activities with the child's abilities and interests, stimulating curiosity, selecting a nursery school). A special feature is ""prepared parenthood checklists,"" geared to each new developmental phase, to help parents observe their children's growth, recognize new abilities, and anticipate possible problems. Throughout, the guidance is conventional and conservative: breast-feeding ""offers several distinct advantages"" but ""bottle feeding is a viable alternative""; parents of one-year-olds should not set rigid standards about eating habits; ""a boy should be told that he is made just like Daddy, Grandpa, Uncle Dave, and so on."" More problematic are questions that may emerge before their time: solid food isn't introduced until Infancy 6, on p. 304; single parents appear, suddenly, in Toddlerhood 2; sex-role stereotyping isn't mentioned until Preschool 2--and these can be located only with a diligent search through an ill-designed index. Should parents of an older child decide to use the guide, moreover, they would miss general information presented earlier, since nearly all cross-references are to later ages and stages. More closely attuned to parent and child needs are the works of Penelope Leach (Babyhood, Your Baby and Child) and T. Berry Brazelton (Mothers and Infants, Mothers and Toddlers), along with the Boston Children's Hospital Child Health Encyclopedia--among others.