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When You Were Small
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When You Were Small

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  228 ratings  ·  28 reviews
When father puts young Henry to bed he always says "Dad, tell me about when I was small." His father complies, telling Henry how, when he was little, he used to be so tiny that he could take his pet ant out for a walk on a leash! What's more, he got his hair combed with a toothbrush and was such a little boy that he could even fit in his father's shirt pocket. Henry was so ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published June 30th 2006 by Simply Read Books (first published January 17th 2006)
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Average rating 4.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  228 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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Dave Schaafsma
Apr 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Picture book about a father asked to tell stories of when his son was small. The artwork is sweet, endearing, colorful, but not flashy. Intimate. Humorous. Each page is a different answer to the question, all of them inventive and cute and clever. There's no development to the story, no arc to the story, but each answer with the art is so great it overcomes that shortcoming for me. ...more
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Nov 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Cute but not memorable. I have a feeling kids would lose interest after a few "when you were smalls," although the scenarios do get more outrageous as they go along. ...more
Baby Bookworm
Mar 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: our-reviews

This review was originally written for The Baby Bookworm. Visit us for new picture books reviews daily!

Hello, friends! Our book today is When You Were Small, written by Sara O’Leary and illustrated by Julie Morstad, a whimsical tale of Henry, and what life was like when he was very, very small.

Each night, Henry and his father play a sort of game, and it always begins with Henry’s request: “Tell me about when I was small.” His father then relates (possibly made-up) stories of when Henry was small
Mar 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teaching
This was a great bedtime story. D and I talked about if he was small like Henry, compared Henry to Arietty, and laughed about having a bath in a teapot. Deacon knows that he was a baby like his cousin, and not just a smaller version of himself, but for some reason he thinks I was small like this. It was interesting to get him talking about how people grow up.

The illustrations were sweet and I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to read nonsensical but fun stories to their children.
Feb 22, 2011 rated it liked it
OhioLINKed this because it's the same illustrator as Singing away the dark, which was wonderful. This one is a sweet story that takes the statement "Dad, tell me about when I was small" literally. ("When you were small we let you sleep in one of my slippers. The left one. You used a fuzzy was cloth for a blanket and a tea bag for a pillow.") Line-drawing illustrations are reminiscent of Audrey Niffenegger's style. ...more
T Crockett
Nov 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This is a magical book. The premise is a lot of fun. The wording is delightful and great for reading aloud and the pictures are just perfect. There are several I'd happily frame and put on my wall.

This was a big hit with the 3-4 year old set. At first I wasn't sure if they got the premise, but about 1/2 way through it became clear they were in on the joke. Lots of requests to read and reread this one.
Dec 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
What child hasn't asked about "what was I like when I was small?" Henry's father makes up some adorable little stories about when his son, Henry, was small. This book would be great to share with preschool age children who are developing their feel/skill of knowing what is real and what is made-up. Walking a pet ant, being used as a chess piece, bathing in a tea pot! What fun and funny little stories. ...more
Jade Ralston
This is a lovely story about a father and son bonding at bedtime. It shows how the father remembers his son. The son enjoys hearing about it. I like how it shows the father being there for him and putting him to bed. I read books where the mother always does that. The father can too. I liked seeing that. The pictures were colorful and and just right for the story.
Pat Miller
Mar 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a very sweet book with charming old-fashioned illustrations. A father tells his son about what life was like when he was small. But not small as being a baby or a toddler. Small as in being a fully functioning boy but just the size of Stuart Little. Very nice. I hope this book gets the audience it deserves.
Clare Cannon
Aug 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 04-8yrs
A picture book that captures the playful interaction between a father and son remembering—imagining—the things he did when he was small. The tongue-in-cheek text with its inventive scenarios is perfectly offset by the spare, whimsical illustrations, leaving the book with the perfect balance of credibility and surprise. Reviewed for ...more
The Brothers
Jan 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fathers, sons, growing-up
A very cute book about a father describing to his son what the son was like when he was "small." It includes things like taking an ant out for a walk on a leash and bathing in a tea kettle.

Lovely illustrations.
Dec 24, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: small people!
Shelves: happy-books
Well, I'm not sure. A kid asks his dad what he did when he was small, and his dad makes many lies about ridiculous things that could never happen. And guess what? The kid believes him! I didn't like this book. ...more
Feb 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Kristen McBee
May 26, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: picture-books
I’m not whimsical enough to understand this book.
Michael Fitzgerald
May 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
What is the point? It's kind of like Stuart Little without the plot. ...more
Nov 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor, kids-books
Cute and funny little book about a dad's tall tale for his small son. ...more
Jul 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
I mainly read classic children's books to the kids but this is a new one I (and the kids) really enjoy. ...more
Laura Elisabeth
Very sweet. Reminded me just a little bit of A A Milne's poetry from When We Were Six, which is a high compliment indeed. ...more
Aug 23, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I would read this to my children. Were I to have children. And were they not to be little jerks.
Dec 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: the-baby-reads
Mommy's fav. the preschooler is unimpressed. ...more
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Simple and charming.
Apr 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
Imaginative play on being "small." Simple, fun illustrations. Adventurous, but low key and sparse. Kind of anti-climactic. ...more
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
"Dad," says Henry. "Tell me about when I was small."
A sweet story about a little boy and his dad. It took me back to childhood and the times my dad would tell me stories and I would sometimes wonder if they were true. I think that's the point. :)
Illustrations are adorable and really well done, too.

(I miss you, Dad.)
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Jun 03, 2008
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May 21, 2008
Tim Kringen
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Apr 01, 2018
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