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.