I like to try out children's books before I buy them. I've made too many impulse purchases on amazon, and then realized that the book was just not as clever or cute as all the five-star reviews said it was (probably written by the author's mother). So when I hear a recommendation for a book, I try to find it at the library first. If we like the book enough, then we buy it for our home library.
When You Were Small by Sara O'Leary (illustrated by Julie Morstad) is a lovely little treasure. Each night Henry has a chat with his father before bed, asking him what he was like when he was small. His father recalls "When you were small you used to have a pet ant and you would take him out for walks on a leash", and each spread tells another memory. He recalls how Henry would ride around in the pocket of his father's shirt... "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."
I love the understated design, with a different hand drawn letter starting each spread. The endpapers are sweet as well, showing a gallery of Henry when he was small (hanging from a balloon, peeking out of a teacup, etc.)
As I'm tucking my son C into bed, he now asks me what he was like when he was small. And we tell him how he once used a quarter for a frisbee, or how we lost him once amongst the bananas at the supermarket. Needless to say this book will be joining our library here at home.