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Home > The Writings of Zane Grey > Big Little Books


Big Little Books

In 1932, the Whitman Publishing Company of Racine, Wisconsin began publishing Big Little Books. According to biglittlebooks.com, the books contained a large amount of reading material and pleasure (big) in a small and compact (little) book -- hence the unusual name.

The books were produced used excess paper trimmmed from magazines. -- paper that would otherwise have gone to waste. Since the stories in Big Little Books were often borrowed from popular comic strips, they could be produced at little or no additional cost to the publisher. Big Little Books typically contained text on the left side pages and a full-page illustration on the right. Illustrations were lifted from the related comic strips.

Whitman published several Big Little Books and other books written by Zane Grey between 1935 and 1942. Most were under the title King of the Royal Mounted, a compilation of earlier comic strips centered around the character of Sergeant King, a Canadian Mountie who always got his man. They set the standard for similar books by other publishers, such as Dell and Fawcett. .

A Note on First Editions

First editions of these Big Little Books command very high prices and are considered some of Zane Grey's rarest works. Even reprints of these books command high prices and are very uncommon.

For those who are interested in learning more about Big Little Books, the website, biglittlebooks.com is an excellent resource. On their website, you will find invaluable information relative to the care of these paper collectibles and a definitive description of what these books are.

Listing of Big Little Books by Zane Grey


Publishing data obtained from biglittlebooks.com. and other sources.

Cowboys of the West

Big Little Book
Tarzan Ice Cream Cup Premium
Whitman Publishing. 1935.
Standard size 4 1/4" x 3 1/2"; Illustrated
Author: Unknown
Artist: Unknown.

Details: This book featured a Tarzan Ice Cream advertisement on the back cover. Distributed as a premium from Tarzan Ice Cream.



King of the Royal Mounted

Big Little Book
Cocomalt Premium
Whitman Publishing. 1935.
Standard size 4 1/4" x 3 1/2"; Illustrated
Author: Unknown
Artist: Unknown.

Details: Based on the comic by Zane Grey. Cocomalt ads printed on rear cover and inside wrappers. Distributed as a premium from Cocomalt.



King of the Royal Mounted

Big Little Book
No. 1103
Whitman Publishing. 1936. Hard cover.
Standard size 3 5/8" x 4 1/2" x 1 1/2"; 432 pages.
Author: Zane Grey and Romer Grey
Artist: Allen Dean

Details: The first KORM Big Little Book. Outline by Zane Grey with text written by Romer Grey.

King of the Royal Mounted
  and the Northern Treasure


Big Little Book
No. 1179
Whitman Publishing. 1937. Hard cover.
Standard size 3 5/8" x 4 1/2" x 1 1/2"; 432 pages
Author: Zane Grey and Romer Grey
Artist: Allen Dean and Charles Flanders.

Details: Flander's art starts on page 284. Previous art is by Dean.



Zane Grey's King of the Royal Mounted
   in Arctic Law


Big Little Book
No. 1010
Whitman Publishing. 1937. Hard cover.
Standard size 5 9/16" x 7 3/8"
5 cent cover

Details: No information available.



Tex Thorne Comes Out of the West

Big Little Book
No. 1438
Whitman Publishing. 1937. Hard cover.
Standard size 3 5/8" x 4 1/2" x 1 1/2"; 432 pages.
Author: Romer Grey, son of Zane Grey.
Artist: Allen Dean.
Cover Artist: Hal Arbo.



King of the Royal Mounted Gets His Man

Big Little Book
No. 1452
Whitman Publishing. 1938. Hard cover.
Standard size 3 5/8" x 4 1/2" x 1 1/2"; 432 pages
Author: Zane Grey and Romer Grey
Artist: Allen Dean.

Details: Outline by Zane Grey with text written by Romer Grey.



Fast Action Stories, Better Little Books,
and Others by Zane Grey



In addition to Big Little Books, Whitman Publishing also printed Better Little Books, Penny Books and Buddy Books. Whitman Publishing's success spawned competition from other publishers. Dell Publishing produced Fast Action Stories, Large Feature Comics and Feature Books. Some of the Zane Grey titles produced by these publishers are listed below.


King of the Royal Mounted

Dell Large Feature Comic
(Formerly called "Black and White")
No. 9
Dell Publishing. 1936.
Standard size 11 1/4" x 9"
Author: Unknown
Artist: Unknown.

Details: This is more similar to a comic book than a Big Little Book.

Numerous Zane Grey Comic Books have been produced and sold in addition to the ones on this page. For information on Zane Grey comic books, click here.

King of the Royal Mounted

Feature Books
(Newspaper early issues)
No. 1
David McKay Publishing Co. 1937.
Standard size 11 1/4" x 9"
Author: Unknown
Artist: Unknown.

Details: This is more similar to a comic book than a Big Little Book.

Numerous Zane Grey Comic Books have been produced and sold in addition to the ones on this page. For information on Zane Grey comic books, click here.

King of the Royal Mounted
  Policing the Frozen North


Dell Fast Action Story
Dell Publishing. 1938. Hard cover.
Standard size 4" by 5 1/4".; 192 pages
10 cent cover.

Details: No information available.



King of the Royal Mounted
  in the Far North


Whitman Buddy Book
Whitman Publishing. 1938. Soft Cover.

Details: This book was a Buddy Book, one of many kinds of imitations and spin-offs of Big Little Books.




King of the Royal Mounted
  and the Great Jewel Mystery


Better Little Book
No. 1486
Whitman Publishing. 1939. Hard cover.
Standard size 3 5/8" x 4 1/2" x 1 1/2"; 432 pages.
Author: Zane Grey and Romer Grey.
Artist: Allen Dean.

Details: Outline by Zane Grey with text written by Romer Grey.



King of the Royal Mounted
  in Law of the North


Whitman Penny Book
Whitman Publishing. 1939. Soft Cover.
Standard size 2 1/2" by 3 1/2"
Author: Unknown
Artist: Unknown.

Details: This book is a Penny Book, one of many kinds of imitations and spin-offs of Big Little Books.

There is now evidence to support the basis that this Penny Book is the Buster Brown Premium giveaway. Buster Brown would apply stickers or a stamp to the back of this book indicating it was sponsored by Buster Brown.

King of the Royal Mounted
  and the Long Arm of the Law


Better Little Book
No. 1405
Whitman Publishing. 1942. Hard cover.
Standard size 3 5/8" x 4 1/2" x 1 1/2"; 432 pages
Author: Unknown
Artist: Unknown.

Details: Adapted from the works of Zane Grey. Contains two flip-it features (Mounty stalks and captures a criminal; Mounty encounters a bear).


If you notice any errors regarding the information or cover illustrations on this page, or if you would like to provide additional details on the works listed, please contact the Society here: tbolinger@zgws.org







Home > The Writings of Zane Grey > Big Little Books

Historical images of Zane Grey used with permission of Dr. Loren Grey and Zane Grey, Inc.
© 2006 - 2017 Zane Grey's West Society. All Rights Reserved.
Historical photos of Zane Grey used with permission of Dr. Loren Grey and Zane Grey Inc.