Fish_Texas - 4:28 am on Feb 12, 2007 (gmt 0)
It's not the number of words IMO, it's the number of keywords...density.
I went from top 10 down to 50 last Aug (penalty)...lowered KW density to 3% on page density and lowered KW's in Description Meta Tags to only 2 times per KW.
Bingo...all pages back up in top 10 in September 06.
Might be the smaller pages would naturally have lower KW density.
Hope this helps.