This curiously impersonal overview of early life moves from a detailed description of anatomical functioning, through conception to an account of a tot's day at a day-care center. It's all done in a tone that suggests intimate topics must necessarily be treated with scientific objectivity (but this is leavened somewhat by picture essays in four-color on breast-feeding and other subjects and an extract on orgasm from For Whom the Bell Tolls). The tight, clear text is divided into six sections, each containing a photo essay or how-to section on prenatal exercise, birth, breast-feeding, diapering, or some other aspect of nurturing. Medical facts, historical references and educational theories are woven together and profusely illustrated with charts and diagrams. The majority of the work here is concerned with conception, birth and the first year of life. The chapter on toddlers is awash with generalizations, as quickly followed with a warning not to judge a child's development on the basis of any generalization. The book concludes with a well-diagrammed chapter on the care of a sick infant; a chart of 64 drugs for diverse disorders (some only tenuously connected with children, childbearing or rearing); a listing of symptoms that occur in children of all ages and both sexes, and a short index. It is informative reading, but with the look of a collection of articles. And it has a curious set of imbalances: the long chapter on breast-feeding vs. a short paragraph on formula feeding, for example. All babies, in this text anyway, are ""he."" Drawn along by cute baby pictures, the reader skims the surface of a very broad array of topics, but somehow life, the central core, is missing.