When You Were Small
I just came to the realization that I am not young any more. It wasn’t the number of candles on my birthday cake this year, nor the fact that I didn’t last pass 9 p.m. at my own party (I fell asleep on the couch) that made me feel old. It was sitting across from my parents at a recent birthday dinner that really hit it home. While I wasn’t looking, my parents aged: Fine lines and grays have slowly settled in over time. Sitting across from my parents, I remembered when I use to be knee high standing next to mom, so little that I needed their help with everything. Now I am an inch or two taller than mom (still shorter than dad), no longer little and doing a lot of things on my own. Keep reading…
Every night at bedtime Henry and his father would have a chat. It always began the same way, “Dad, tell me about when I was small”. Henry’s father tells him how when he was little, Henry use to take his baths in the teapot. Henry was such a little boy that his father would carry him around in his shirt pocket. So small that his father’s original name for him, Hieronymous, was too big for him and had to be shorten to Henry. When You Were Small, written by Sara O’Leary and illustrated by Julie Morstad is so sweet. When You Were Small should become a bedtime ritual in every family. There are so many ways to adapt the phrase “When you were small…” to fit your little one. All you need is a little imagination.
Julie Morstad’s works usually comes across as surreal and tends to leave you feeling uneasy. However, her work for children’s books captures a different mood. It’s more whimsical. Julie creates delicate lines with pen and ink, nothing heavy. Any textures and shadows are created with fine crosshatching lines. The illustrations are gently washed with colours. Each wondrous memory of Henry is illustrated as a single illustration floating in white space. To connect the illustrations to each phrase, the “W” at the start each phrase “When you were small… “ are all hand drawn; another delicate touch that just makes the story sweeter.
When You Were Small, a children’s book review by Thao Lam
Author Sara O’Leary
There is very little written on author Sara O’Leary. She was born in Saskatoon, Canada. Besides writing children’s books, Sara O’Leary is also a fiction writer, a literary journalist and a playwright. When she is not writing, Sara teaches writing for Children and screenwriting at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada.
Check out her blog at
Illustrator Julie Morstad
Julie Morstad currently lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. She received her Bachelor of Fine Art at Alberta College of Art and Design. Full of creativity Julie has been producing art for array of products, children’s books, CD and book covers, fabric, wallpaper and two animated music videos.
You can see more of Julie’s work on her website
Publisher Simply Read Books (January 17, 2006)