Here is the sharp edge of the pendulum in its swing between extremes in attitudes toward child rearing. The author has synthesized the criticisms that have been cropping up with increasing frequency in specialized studies, general trade books and periodicals. These deal with the child as a status symbol; school-crazed P.T.A. excesses; the incredible amounts spent on the 5 years old and under group (party coordinators, period furniture, ridiculous clothing); and the completely organized ""leisure"" of children. The cynical quotes from the experts -- principals, psychologists and disenchanted parents -- have bite without backing. Too many remain unidentified ""prominent"" of this or that field. An excellent section on I.Q.-mania and the abrasive polishing of the ""gifted child"" ends the book. Not revolutionary, but a readable rebellion, parts of which have appeared in that ex-clarion of ""Togetherness"" -- McCall's.