Saturday, December 30, 2006

Gifted

From the Tyee's "Dangerous Gift" Guide

When You Were Small by Sarah O'Leary with Illustrations by Julie Morstad. (Simply Read Books) Charming drawings and droll humour that will bring a smile to the most self-serious five-year-old. "When you were small we used you as a chess piece…"

School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 3–Each night, Henry asks his dad to tell him about when he was small, and his father relates how very small he really was: “…we used to give you baths in the teapot…,” and “…we took the toy castle out of the aquarium and you were king of it.” This is obviously an enjoyable nighttime ritual and it always ends with the child asking, “'Dad, is all that true?’ 'Well,’ says his dad, 'don’t you remember?’” The minimal text is accompanied by delicate illustrations. Subtle coloring and ample white space add to the book’s tranquil feel. A lovely title to share one-on-one, and sure to start many family rituals.–Wendy Woodfill, Hennepin County Library, Minnetonka, MN

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Curiously validating...


This review comes from a feature on "small" books from the blog Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast:

When You Were Small by Sara O’Leary is a bit different from the previous two. It starts out with a standard picture book premise: Henry always asks his father the same question at bedtime: “Tell me about when I was small.” But, rather than the expected description of a typical babyhood, the reader is then treated to a series of (ahem, pardon me) tall-tale one-liners about a 3-inch-tall mini-boy. My favorite: “When you were small your mother once lost you in the bottom of her purse. When she found you again, you were clinging to an earring she’d lost three years before.” The deadpan text is perfectly countered by sweetly whimsical illustrations by Julie Morstad, in a crosshatching-and-watercolor style that’s kind of like a non-sardonic Edward Gorey. There’s a lot of appeal here: pure silliness that will certainly invoke belly-laughs when read aloud, plus there’s the Borrowers/Littles/etc. phenomenon - that fascination with characters that are so small they can use ordinary objects in completely unintended ways. For example, Henry uses a ruler for a toboggan and his father’s slipper for a bed. And there’s a curious validation in that, too, I think – even the impossibly-small can manage in a too-big world, and Henry always looks like he’s having a pretty good time.

I discovered When You Were Small by in a very roundabout way – I was trying to find out more about Julie Morstad after (thanks to Julie!) I saw the animated “Maybe Sparrow” video (hauntingly lovely) and the Fox Confessor Brings the Flood CD cover art (spooky, surreal) she created for Neko Case. Sadly, when I tried to get a copy for my library, I was told that the publisher is “out of stock indefinitely.” So, if you run across this one in a bookstore or something, grab it! You may not get another chance!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Maybe Sparrow video

You can view the Maybe Sparrow video at Neko Case's website: http://www.nekocase.com

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Praise from ForeWord

When You Were Small
by: Sara O’Leary ; Julie Morstad, illustrator

Issue Month: July/August 2006
Category: Children's Picture Book
Publisher: Simply Read Books
32 pages, Hardcover $16.95
ISBN: 1894965361
There is nothing children like better than to hear stories about when they were very young. They love to hear about the silly things they did and said before they were old enough to remember. Henry is no exception.

Every night he and his father meet in a pair of wingback chairs and begin the conversation the same way: “Dad,” says Henry, “tell me about when I was small.” His father entertains his son with whimsical tales, imagining that Henry was once so small he could take his pet ant out for a walk on a leash, or ride in his father’s shirt pocket.

The author is an award-winning playwright, fiction writer, and literary columnist, but it’s her experience as the mother of two boys that helps her know exactly what will capture the imagination of her young audience. Henry’s father invents endearing descriptions like: “When you were small we used to give you baths in the teapot, and when you were done we could just tip it over and pour you out,” or “When you were small you couldn’t hold a spoon so you used to sit on the edge of my porridge bowl and dip your head in like a baby bird.” The pair imagine that, thanks to Henry’s Lilliputian size, he has the good fortune to wear a thimble for a hat, stand in for a lost chess piece, and ride a ruler instead of a toboggan.

O’Leary’s text is accompanied by pale watercolors and detailed cross-hatch drawings of a tiny Henry snuggled into his father’s slipper, or nude and poised to jump into the teapot for his bath. This is the illustrator’s first children’s book, and her art incorporates details beyond the written words. For example, when Henry is lost in the bottom of his mother’s purse and is finally found clinging to an earring, the reader not only sees Henry hanging by one arm from the hoop earring pinched between an unknown adult’s fingers, but the tiny child is wearing striped pajamas and is clutching an empty candy wrapper, a faint and wistful smile on his face.

Children as young as three will enjoy the tales of Henry’s adventures, in which being miniscule means that the most mundane tasks like brushing teeth or eating porridge become veritable feats.

The last lines of this book may also spark conversations between adult and child: a question is cleverly answered with a question. “Dad,” says Henry, “is all that true?” His dad replies, “Well, don’t you remember?” Henry is left scratching his head, as might the young readers (or listeners) who will continue to ponder being so small that they can ride on the back of a cat like an emperor.

Review by: Cymbre Foster

http://www.forewordmagazine.com/reviews/viewreviews.aspx?reviewID=3555

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Small Joys

I first saw this book at a children's boutique and instantly fell in love with it's outsides. With it's dolphin smooth robin egg blue cover and chocolate brown cloth spine, the pleasure is both tactile and visual. The hand drawn illustrations, hand lettered drop caps and muted colours harken back to an earlier time. It's almost like a treasure that I could find hidden on a thrift store shelf and I'm almost amazed I could purchase it brand new.
http://smalljoys.blogspot.com

Monday, June 05, 2006

Praise indeed from "Bookstore Girl"

When You Were Small is a gorgeously old fashioned book. Every night, Henry asks his father to tell him about when he was small. Henry's dad has a bit of a sense of humour, and all the anecdotes he relates (one per page) involve a very small Henry indeed. (See how old-fashioned?! I said "indeed"). For instance, when Henry was small, his father tells him, "you rode on the cat's back like you were an emperor and he was an elephant." Julie Morstad's charming line illustrations fit so nicely in with author Sara O'Leary's text that I truly cannot imagine a better pairing.
from www.can'tstopreading.blogspot.com

"Most appealing" review from a bookseller

In our home each night at bedtime, without fail, our two boys ask us for ‘a story with our lips’. This is something they have come to enjoy just as much or more than the storybooks we read to them before bed. Telling a story about something that happened when they were small or when Mom or Dad were little is enough to keep their minds busy until they drowsily fall off to sleep. (For the record, Nanny’s stories with her lips are the best!)

In this new picture book, Sara O’Leary captures this common question that so many youngsters are interested in: what were they like when they were small. The exaggerated quips that young Henry’s father shares with him include such funny ideas as wearing a thimble for a hat; taking a bath in a teapot; using a ruler for a toboggan and my favourite, being lost in the bottom of Mom’s purse. As parents, we can all learn something from Henry’s father, the more outrageous the story, the better.

Morstad’s pictures are cleverly created using pen and ink and pale watercolours making the overall feel of the book somewhat old-fashioned in a most appealing way.
-reviewed by Mary Ann Gallagher of Benjamin's Books
http://www.benjaminsbooks.nb.ca

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Listen to a CBC chat about the book

CBC Radio link:

May 25, 2006

Listen to this interview (runs 6:41)
http://www.cbc.ca/informationmorningsaintjohn/int_archives/2006_may.html

"An appreciation for the absurd," says Publishers Weekly

"O'Leary's debut features a robin's-egg blue cover and a retrospective title that recalls Milne's When We Were Very Young. Morstad's slightly clumsy ink drawings and drop caps, daintily tinted with watercolor and airy with negative space, update the work to somewhere nearer midcentury; with its large format and minimal color, this paper-over-board book could have been published in 1960 as easily as today, and homespun sketches of a wooden ruler and old-fashioned bathroom supplies only compound the anachronism. The narrative itself cultivates an appreciation for the absurd. Every night, a boy named Henry says to his father, 'Tell me about when I was small.' Deadpan recollections follow, each accompanied by a literal illustration of a much smaller Henry. 'When you were small we used to give you baths in the teapot,' his father explains, and the image pictures a boy about to hop into a kettle, a stray sock draped over the handle. 'When you were small you wore a thimble for a hat,' says his father, and readers see a finger-size Henry, his eyes hidden under the brim of a thimble and a needle-sword hanging from his belt. As in Stuart Little, a sepia-tinted image of tiny Henry with his full-size parents sets the scale. This sequence posits a straight-faced game of hyperbole ('When you were small we took the toy castle out of the aquarium and you were king of it') that may well please children of many generations. Ages 3-6. (May) " Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Buy the book

"Possibly the best picture book of the year"

http://fusenumber8.blogspot.com/search?q=savoff
More from my favourite librarian/reviewer/all-round smart gal @fusenumber8.blogspot.com:

Next up, we here at the Fuse have heard recently from charming children's author Sara O'Leary who wrote the beautiful When You Were Small with Simply Read Books. I had the pleasure of meeting Dimiter Savoff, the man behind everything at Simply Read, not long ago at my library. Small publication houses tend to take more time than their big name equivalents. I was unprepared, however, for just how much care they take. Ms. O'Leary had this to say about her book:
Dimiter Savoff not only represents Simply Read - he's it....At one of our meetings he opened up a briefcase full of blank sheets and asked Julie and I which white we liked best. This is a man who takes details very seriously. He asked us if we would leave off the dedications and author bios which seemed strange to me but now I love how clean the book is - right down to him shrinking any of the necessaries down as small as he could. A friend of mine - a true sensualist - noted that the book even smelled good. When I mentioned this to Dimiter he said it was because they had paid extra to have scent imbued in the glue for the binding.


You heard her right. They paid extra for the scent. Actually, I wasn't too terribly surprised when I heard this. My husband actually commented on the scent of the book as I was working on its review. He said it smelled like the children's books he remembered as a kid. It was only later that we found out that that smell was part of this entire picture book experience. And don't let anyone ever tell you that scent isn't important. Have you ever picked up a picture book that had cheap glue in its binding so that when you cracked it open it stank to high heaven? As a children's librarian, I sure have. Now I can see that there are some people in the world who care more than others about this sort of thing. Add in the amazing minimalism and the beautiful binding and I'm ready and willing to declare When You Were Small possibly the best picture book of the year, bar none. Good news too. Ms. O'Leary and illustrator Julie Morstad are working on a second title after this one.

Chosen as a great summer read by Canadian Family Magazine

Henry's father remembers when Henry was so small he slept in a slipper, brushed his hair with a toothbrush and used a ruler for a toboggan. This shared dad-son fantasy shines with the polish of a tale told again and again. Gentle line drawings give a child's imagination plenty of room to roam.

-Sarah Ellis, Canadian Family, Summer 2006 www.canadianfamily.ca

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

One of the lovelier reviews we've had the pleasure of reading

A fantastic review & a fantastic blog by a children's librarian in New York:
http://fusenumber8.blogspot.com/2006/05/review-of-day-when-you-were-small.html#links

A small still book, May 24, 2006
Pity the small publisher in this age of global conglomerates and massive buyouts. In a time of Harcourts and Harper Collins, and Antheneums it's almost impossible for the little guy (the little guy in this case being Simply Read Books) to make any kind of a lasting impression on the marketplace. Worse than all of this is the snobbery involved in criticizing small publishers. I admit freely that when I picked up, "When You Were Small", I looked at it long and hard with an eye towards finding any faults it might have. Not all small publishers are good, after all, and not all of their books readworthy. Simply Read Books is different, though, and "When You Were Small", is infinitely readworthy. An unassuming title with a charming presence, great use of wry commentary, and some really outstanding pen and ink illustrations. "When You Were Small", reminds all of us that sometimes the smallest publishers are the ones who find the best new talent around.

Every night, we are told, Henry and his dad sit down, "and have a chat". Henry asks his dad to tell him what he was like when he was small and dad does so. The only thing is, dad seems to be a bit of a literal sort. The first thing he tells Henry is, "When you were small you used to have a pet ant and you would take him out for walks on a leash". And here we see Henry, no younger than before, but tiny enough to walk an ant as if it were a particularly frisky dog. With each page we learn more about what "little" Henry's life was like. Sometimes it's straightforward, as when we're told, "When you were small we took the toy castle out of the aquarium and you were king of it". Other times the book acquires a dry wit, saying things like, "... your mother once lost you in the bottom of her purse. When she found you again, you were clinging to an earring she'd lost three years before". We hear about how Henry would eat, use a ruler when it came to tobogganing, and take a bath. Near the end of the book Henry's father notes, "we wanted to call you Hieronymous but it was too big a name for you and so we shortened it to Henry". And when Henry asks if all of this is true (as I am sure he asks every night) his dad simply says, "Well ... don't you remember?".

With a steady hand O'Leary parcels out the information in this book in a familiar form. Each section that discusses Henry's previously tiny state begins with the repeating phrase, "When you were small". I think it was the understated humor that really won me over to this book, though. There's a wonderful moment when Henry would ride around in his father's breast pocket. "Your little head would just stick out and your little hands would grip onto the edge of the cloth. Actually you ripped a lot of my shirts that way". It's a small statement, but it makes the reader suddenly wonder if all the dad's stories were true after all. I mean, that's a pretty realistic detail to include. Illustrator Julie Morstad further confuses the issue when she displays front and endpapers that consist of Henry staring at photographs of himself in his "small" state. Some show him posing alongside an ant. Others display him floating away on a balloon or doing something as mundane as posing for Halloween. What is a child to think?

Actually, I should be giving artist Morstad some definite props for this book as well. Using the thinnest of pen lines in a wide variety of colors (subdued, for the most part) the book feels almost like a foreign import. We rarely see such delicate perfectly rendered pictures in our American bookstores and libraries. There's a picture of Henry standing astride a beautifully penned cat. Every hair of that cat is meticulously placed, making it my favorite image in, "When You Were Small". Morstad could make even Peter Sis look like a thick-penned schlub in comparison.

I should mention that the book conveys a great deal of love without artifice or false sentiment. Some of this you might be able to chalk this up to the simplicity of the book's design itself. Publication information is in tiny type at the bottom of a single page. There is no information about either the author nor illustrator nor even a dedication section. The book also hasn't any book jacket, giving it a rather classic feel. All in all, this is one of the lovelier picture book creations I've had the pleasure of reading in a long time. A quiet, intelligent, rather sweet read in a style that everyone can enjoy. Recommended with honors.
Posted by E.R. Bird on Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-reviews/AMX0PJKV4PPNJ/ref=cm_pdp_reviews_see_all/002-6052478-8027200

"Delightfully sly sensibility"

From Booklist:

Henry sits in an armchair opposite his dad. He asks for the usual
evening ritual: "Tell me about when I was small." And so the father
does, in a series of wonderfully unexpected images. When the boy was
small, he could walk his pet ant, sleep in his father's left slipper
(with a peppermint teabag for a pillow), bathe in a teapot, or ride on
the cat's back, as if "[Henry] were an emperor and [the cat] was an
elephant." He could fit in his dad's shirt pocket or play the part of
a knight on the chessboard. When Henry asks his father if it's all
true, Dad replies, "Don't you remember?" Whimsical, crosshatched line
illustrations, washed with gently shadowed colors, appear to float on
white pages, pairing a single, evocative picture with each fantastical
memory. Packaged without a jacket and sporting an elegant cloth spine,
this looks different from most picture books on the market--and the
story's delightfully sly sensibility bears out initial impressions.
GraceAnne DeCandido
Copyright (c) American Library Association. All rights reserved

Monday, May 22, 2006

Papers from all over weigh in

"This exquisite children’s book, which invites children to imagine they were once little enough to ride on the back of the family cat, take baths in a teapot, and use a wooden ruler for a toboggan, is the kind of book I would have saved on the shelf long after my children had grown. Julie Morstad’s elegant illustrations are spare pen-and-ink drawings colored with a soft watercolor wash. Like many great children’s books, this one is worth collecting."
Kimberly Green, writing in Portsmouth Herald, April 2, 2006

Karen Unland, The Edmonton Journal
Published: Sunday, May 14, 2006
When You Were Small by Sara O'Leary
illustrated by Julie Morstad
Simply Read Books
ages 5 and up
32 pp., $19.95
Julie Morstad's spare drawings in When You Were Small could not be more different from the Folies-Bergeres-like swaths in When Cats Go Wrong, but they are no less delightful. Sara O'Leary's story is wonderful, too, and lesson-free, unless you count the implied observation that dads kid around a lot. "Tell me about when I was small," Henry asks his father. What follows is a tall tale about smallness -- Henry taking his pet ant for walks, bathing in a teapot, using a ruler for a toboggan. Is it true, Henry asks? "Well," says his dad, "don't you remember?" Consider this one for every child who looks at Mom for confirmation every time Dad tells a whopper.
Karen Unland is an assignment editor at The Journal. Her four-year-old already knows not to believe a word her father says.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

"A delightful ode to the imagination," says Georgia Straight

When You Were Small (By Sara O’Leary, with illustrations by Julie Morstad) Sara O’Leary, a books columnist for the Vancouver Sun, has crafted a delightful ode to the imagination with When You Were Small. A father reminisces about his son’s early childhood, and if his son doesn’t remember that “When you were small we used to give you baths in the teapot, and when you were done we could just tip it over and pour you out”, well, what can you expect from kids, anyway? Julie Morstad’s delicate, muted illustrations perfectly complement O’Leary’s whimsy. This handsome title showcases Vancouver’s Simply Read Books doing what it does best: simple story, lush pictures, perfect package. ($19.95) -John Burns, Georgia Straight, April 20, 2006

http://www.straight.com/content.cfm?id=17288

Monday, April 10, 2006

"Delightfully original" says the Globe and Mail

Featured as one of "Ten Terrific Texts - Tykes to Teens"
in the Globe and Mail, April 8, 2006 BOOKS4KIDS Special Section
reviewed by regular Childrens' Book Columnist Susan Perren

When You Were Small, by Sara O'Leary, illustrated by Julie Morstad,
Simply Read, 32 pages, $19.95, ages 3 to 6
Small children quite often want to know what they were like when they were even smaller. Small Henry is no exception to this phenomenon, and Henry's dad is more than up to the task of satisfying his son's curiosity. At bedtime each night, father and son sit down opposite each other in wing chairs and Henry asks the question: " 'Dad,' says Henry. 'Tell me about when I was small.' "When Henry was small, his dad tells him, they used him as a chess piece because they were missing one of the knights; they used to give him baths in the teapot -- "when you were done we could just tip it over and pour you out"; he used to sleep in one of his dad's slippers with "a fuzzy wash cloth as a blanket and a tea bag as a pillow"; Henry used a ruler as a toboggan; he was the angel on top of the Christmas tree.
When Dad finishes his litany, Henry asks him if it's all true. " 'Well,' says his dad, 'don't you remember?' " Any imbiber of this delightfully original book will know that it's all true, because there are Julie Morstad's pictures to prove it. And oh how cunningly she goes about providing the proof, using pen and ink and the palest watercolours, aided and abetted by a considerable amount of cross-hatching. There's the little chap in his striped sleeper, fists up, among the chessmen, or perched on the edge of the teapot about to dive into his bath, or lugging a ruler up the hill.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20060408.BKKIDD08/TPStory/?query=o%27leary

Quill reviewer calls it "Charming"

from Quill & Quire, March 2006:
Most children are enchanted by tales of their own antics when they were younger and, and Henry’s no different. In a nightly ritual he asks his father to tell him about when he was small. And every night his father indulges him, recalling how Henry was so small that he bathed in a teapot, wore a thimble for a hat, and slept in a slipper. His father’s fanciful stories leave Henry wondering, "Was all that true?," revealing a child’s need to believe in fantasy, especially if it brings him closer to someone he loves.
In her first picture book for children, Montreal writer Sara O’Leary captures that time in childhood when being small is not so far in the past and imbues it with gentle humour and poignancy. Her descriptions of the small Henry are sweet and imaginative, and the text is inviting and soothingly paced.
All this is ably matched by Vancouver-based Julie Morstad’s illustrations. The delicate lines and softest of colours create a nostalgic ambience, as do the depictions of Henry in slightly short jeans, big sneakers, and a striped tee. Altogether, the design of the book is smooth, balanced (one page text, one page illustration), and appealing. Readers will enjoy the gentle, teasing complicity between father and son as they visit their make-believe memories. This charming book has the added benefit of inviting us to join in the game and remember when we too were small.

-Jessica Kelley, a youth librarian in Fresno County, California

(I was pleased to see kudos go to designer Robin Mitchell and publisher Dimiter Savoff for making such beautiful choices in the design of the book. SOL)

Vancouver Sun calls it "A Sweet New Book"

OUR SARA IS WINNING HEARTS
If you’ve walked past the Kidsbooks store on West Broadway lately, you may have noticed a window displaying multiple copies of a picture book with a robin’s egg blue cover and Sara O’Leary’s name on it.
The Sun’s literary columnist is the author of When You Were Small (Simply Read Books, 32 pages, $19.95), a sweet new book for preschoolers. In the story a little boy named Henry delights in saying to his dad, "Tell me about when I was small." His father obliges, producing a number of fanciful Tom Thumb scenarios, such as "[w]e used you as a chess piece" and "you wore a thimble for a hat."
Vancouver illustrator Julie Morstad shows how Henry pictures each of these imaginary scenes from his past. Her artwork is delicate and gentle, using crosshatching to great effect. O’Leary is the mother of two sons. There’s a tenderness in the way she shows here how even the littlest people like to contemplate how much they’ve grown and how far they’ve come. So while young readers will doubtless get lost in Morstad’s pictures of Henry the Lilliputian, their parents will tend to muse about the evanescence of childhood - something that books like Robert Munsch’s Love You Forever also make you do.
The book’s publisher - Simply Read books of Vancouver - believes in outstanding graphic design and quality production. Hence the illustrated endpapers, sturdy binding and heavy paper. O’Leary says, "They’ve done such a beautiful job ... that even if they only printed one copy, I could carry it around all my life and die happy."
Phyllis Simon, co-owner of Kidsbooks, says the store’s staff and customers find the style, "both the writing and the illustration, very, very appealing .... It’s got a familiarity about it, but it’s still original." Both parents and school libraries are buying it.
-Rebecca Wigod

(Rebecca Wigod is my editor for the weekly column Galley Slave. She is a fine editor and a terribly sweet person, and I don’t just say so because she is nice to me. But I do appreciate it. And it was very good of her to give a nod to Dimiter Savoff and the care he lavishes on his books at Simply Read. The reason I chose him to publish this book was that as a reviewer myself, I know that his books are simply some of the most beautiful children’s books on the market. SOL)

Will "spark any child's imagination" says Montreal Gazette

EXTRAORDINARY BOY DELIGHTS IN TALL TALES
Nary a person makes it through childhood without, at some point, wondering: What was I like when I was small?
It’s a universal curiousity. And the answers parents give us form the bedrock of family lore. Even when it’s just everyday truth.
So imagine what takes root in a child’s imagination when the answers he gets are out of the ordinary. Henry is such a child. Every night he and his father setlle in their wingback chairs for a chat before bedtime. And every night Henry starts by asking his father to "tell me about when I was small."
His father’s responses provide the stuff that dreams are made of. "When you were small," he begins, "you used to have a pet ant and you would take him for walks on a leash." A full-page illustration facing this fantastical remark shows just that: a wee, tiny Henry with an ant strainign at a leash, moving through a clump of tall grasses and weeds.
And so it goes, from Henry as a small as a chess piece, to someone about to leap into a teapot for his bath, to someone who sits in his shirt pocket.
Montreal author Sara O’Leary’s brief text is perfectly matched by the scratchy line art of Vancouver’s Julie Morstad. Together, they’ll spark any youngster’s imagination. Ages 3 to 6.
-Bernie Goedhart, Montreal Gazette February 25, 2006

(Montreal Books Editor Edie Austin and regular books columnist Bernie Goedhart do a fantastic job of providing coverage for children’s books EVERY week. This is a rarity with newspapers, sadly, and it’s great to see attention being paid to some of our smallest, and most important, readers. SOL)

Wonderful New Picture Book says hometown bookstore

Included as one of "Carry’s Choices." Carry Dueck is the Manager of the McNally Robinson for Kids in Saskatoon.

Every night at bedtime Henry and his father always have a chat. It always begins the same way. "Dad," says Henry. "Tell me about when I was small." Morstad’s pencil illustrations capture the spirit of imagination as Dad tells Henry, "When you were small we let you sleep in one of my slippers. The left one." Cuddle up with your little one and share this wonderful new picture book. Sara O’Leary is originally from Saskatoon. (All Ages).
- McNally Robinson Newsletter, March 2006

Recommended by Library Association

From the Manitoba Library Association:

excerpt:
"Dad," says Henry. "Tell me about when I was small."
"When you were small we put you on the top of the Christmas tree instead of the angel."

When the veil of forgetfulness begins to obscure our memory, we sometimes wonder what our life was like when we were younger. So it is with young Henry, the protagonist of Sara O'Leary's When You Were Small. Henry makes the mistake of asking his playful father to tell about when Henry was small. The father then proceeds to reel off a litany of wildly exaggerated episodes from Henry's early life.

If we are to believe Henry's father, when Henry was small, he was little enough to bathe in a teapot; he was so tiny he was lost in his mother’s purse; he was able to toboggan on a ruler; he even slept in a slipper. Henry may have been small, but this book is big on humour. My own two children enjoyed it immensely. After reading it aloud to them, they immediately wanted me to read it again. My two-year-old laughed out loud several times. Her favourite was the episode when a toothbrush was used to brush Henry’s hair. My six-year-old's favourite part was the use of Henry as a chess piece to replace the missing knight.

Julie Morstad provides the illustrations to accompany O'Leary's concise text. Like the text, there is charm in the illustration's simplicity. It takes talent to make complex things seem simple, and both O'Leary and Morstad succeed in this regard.

Like me, you will enjoy sharing this book with the young readers in your life. This is a fun book that will free the imagination and set you on a path toward thinking of what life might have been like when YOU were small.

Recommended.

- Gregory Bryan, a University of British Columbia PhD student, recently joined the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba.
http://www.umanitoba.ca/outreach/cm/vol12/no10/whenyouweresmall.html

DISTRIBUTORS WORLD-WIDE

CANADA
Publishers Group Canada
250A Carlton Street
Toronto, ON, M5A 2L1
tel 800 747 8147
fax 416 934 1410
Orders: tel 800 663 5714
fax 800 565 3770
email customerservice@raincoast.com

USA
Publishers Group West
1700 Fourth Street
Berkeley, CA 94710
tel 800 788 3123
fax 510 528 3614
Fax: 800-351-5073
email: orderentry@perseusbooks.com

UK & EUROPE
Turnaround PSL
Unit 3 Olympia Trading Estate
Coburg Road, London N22 6T7
tel 020 8829 3000
fax 020 8881 5088
email orders@turnaround-psl.comwww.turnaround-psl.com

AUSTRALIA
Tower Books Pty Ltd
Unit 2 / 17 Rodborough Road
Frenchs Forest NSW 2086
tel 61 2 9975 5566
fax 61 2 9975 5599
email fionaw@towerbooks.com.au

A dream of an illustrator ...



See more of Julie Morstad’s work at
http://www.ateliergallery.ca/dynamic/artwork_display.asp?ArtistID=66

A lovely letter from a bookseller

I love, love, love When You Were Small. I pulled it off the cart this afternoon, admired its spare 60's look and was blown away by its perfection. I can give it no higher praise than putting it in the same league as an early Sendak/Ruth Krauss book. It just the sort of book I loved reading to my own kids. It is pure gold. Its gorgeous illustrations and gentle family humour are going to strike a chord with book buyers everywhere. I will do my best to put it into as many hands as I can in the next two weeks before I move on to my new job. Congratulations to Sara O' Leary, Julie Morstad and Simply Read Books. This book is an absolute gem.
Maggie Blondeau, Vancouver Kidsbooks.

(Thanks, Maggie, I think you're a gem too. Hand-selling has always been a boon to publishers and authors and Kidsbooks has proven themselves champions in this regard. And your reference to Maurice Sendak absolutely tickled me - I was raised on a steady diet of those beautiful books and have done the same with my own boys. Thanks again. SOL)

A simply beautiful book

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Visit my publisher's website at:

www.simplyreadbooks.com
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