When I Was Little: A Four-Year-Old's Memoir of Her Youth

Last updated Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Author: Jamie Lee Curtis
Illustrator: Laura Cornell
Date of Publication: 1993
ISBN: 0060210788
Grade Level: 1st    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jul. 2005

Synopsis: In her first book, Curtis capitalizes on the notion that kids love hearing about themselves as babies and takes it one delicious step further by having a four-year-old tell on herself. In a playful first-person narrative, the sprightly young miss describes the many ways she has left babyhood behind: no more "silly hair" or wearing "floaties" in the pool, no more eating "goo and yucky stuff." In keeping with the lively text, the watercolor illustrations are a congenial, colorful scramble, with many freewheeling, double-page spreads showing the little girl as both baby and preschooler. Despite the confusion this occasionally causes, the artwork's good humor perfectly matches the jaunty air of the words and beautifully captures the narrator, naughty and nice, happy and proud.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Do you remember when you were little? What were you like?
•  Do you have any younger brothers and sisters?
•  What are some funny things that you have seen little kids do, or something that you remember that you did?
•  What are some things you like about being older? What can you do now that you couldn't do when you were little?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Do you miss being younger? Can you remember what it was like?
•  How many of you did the things she did when she was little? When she was older?
•  How are you "helpful" at home?
•  What are "time-outs"? Have you gotten one? What did you do?
•  Do you know how to swim?
•  Do you go to the park and what do you do there?
•  What are your favorite foods?
•  What do you do at night before bedtime?

Craft ideas:
•  The main character is wearing a few necklaces. Make a pasta necklace. (Bring ahead option: different types of dry pasta and string.)
•  Draw a picture of yourself when you were little or draw a picture of yourself doing one of your favorite things that you like to do now that you're older.
•  Using construction paper, cut out a 4x6 rectangle to make space for a photo. Then, underneath that rectangle, write your name and decorate. You can bring this ?frame? home for your parents to use.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!