When I Was Small, written by Sara O’Leary, illustrated by Julie Morstad
Being fascinated with small things starts when we are small. Looking into a patch of grass and imagining a whole world of ants and bugs: a tiny world. The Borrowers were small. The Smurfs. The Oompa-Looompas. The Lilliputians in Gulliver’s Travels. Hey, My Little Pony and Matchbox Cars too.
For author Sara O’Leary it started with The Friendly Giant, a Canadian television show she watched in childhood. (She’s the author of When I Was Small and two other picture books starring Henry, including When You Were Small).
image: LP Cover Lover
She says: “The show’s intro features a little model village…the camera pans along to an enormous booth and then up to the giant who invites you into his castles where waiting by the fire are three chairs (made absurdly tiny by the scale of his gigantic hand).”
‘One little chair for one of you, and a bigger chair for two more to curl up in, and for someone who likes to rock, a rocking chair in the middle,’ the giant says to viewers.
“When I started telling stories to my own boys I think part of me harkened back to that feeling I had when I was small–that feeling of wishing to be very small indeed, small enough to curl up in a tiny chair in an imaginary castle and play make-believe.”-Sara O’Leary
In When You Were Small, Henry asks what he was like when he was small. In When I Was Small, still curious, Henry asks his mother what she was like when she was small. It’s not exactly what you’d expect. They weren’t just small back then. They were TINY. It’s pretty wonderful to imagine yourself or someone else that teeny. So tiny that yarn is jump rope and a single raspberry is a feast.
The book (and its companions) with illustrations by uber talented Julie Morstad, is charming and so full of whimsy! It beautifully captures a child’s perspective, imagination, and fantasy. A little one is already so small compared to big things around them. But also big compared to tiny ones. What fun to play with scale!
And Etsy has a treasure chest full of miniature objects I didn’t imagine existed. But they do!
(In honor of one of my favorite authors.)
image: Robin Mitchell Cranfield book design