Marcia Strykowski

The Tiniest Books

After enjoying your comments on my Tiny Books post, I decided to do a post on even tinier books. These first pictures show books I’ve had since childhood. All are hardcover with book jackets. First up is the Christmas Nutshell Library by Hilary Knight. This cute little boxed set includes 4 tiny books, each 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″. They were published in 1963 by Harper & Row and are unpaged (meaning no page numbers). Titles are A Firefly in a Fir Tree, Angels and Berries and Candy Canes, A Christmas Stocking Story, and The Night Before Christmas.There are also wonderful collections of Maurice Sendak books in the Nutshell Library series. My next book is A Pocketful of Proverbs by Joan Walsh Anglund (also unpaged). This 1964 tiny book with case was published by Harcourt, Brace, & World, Inc. It is 3″ x 4″ tall. Next up is a completely wordless, hilarious set of books created by Mercer Mayer. Four Frogs in a Box was published by The Dial Press in the early 1970’s. Each book is 3″ x 3 1/2″. Titles are A Boy, A Dog and A Frog (1967), Frog Where are You? (1969) A Boy, A Dog, A Frog and A Friend (1971 by Mercer and Marianna Mayer), and Frog on his Own (1973). The Little Book of Hand Shadows stands 2 1/2″ x 3″ tall and is reprinted and adapted from the original 1927 edition. This beautiful little book put out by Running Press in 1990 was created and drawn by Phila H. Webb and the verses are by Jane Corby. There are 77 pages. Also above is another pretty book from Running Press, 1992. The Nutcracker by Daniel Walden and illustrated by Harold Berson was adapted from the ballet which was based on E. T. A. Hoffman’s 1815 story: The Nutcracker and The Mouse King. There are 155 pages in this tiny 2 1/2″ x 3″ volume.

The below photograph shows a group of my daughter’s tiny books, all of them less than 4 inches wide. Here are two public domain pictures that show just how tiny books can be. I did a little research on Charlotte Bronte and her brother Branwell’s tiny books which they made when they were only 13 and 12 years old. There are 20 of them and I was happy to discover that 9 of them are nearby in the Houghton Library at Harvard University. They measure less than 1″ by 2″ and have amazing detail. You can see one of several at this link.

The smallest book in the world is 2.4mm x 2.9mm and is housed at the San Diego Central Library. It’s an ABC book, leather-bound and printed in 4-color. A strong magnifying glass is needed to see, never mind read, this tiny tome.

Speaking of wee books, my thoughtful son and daughter-in-law gave me this beautiful little leather book necklace. It actually opens up and contains blank pages with pretty end papers. Those of you who are really into collecting tiny books might like to join the Miniature Book Society. Their well-done website has a wealth of information.

50 Comments

  1. Bobbi

    What an interesting discussion! I’m a huge fan of Hilary Knight. Mercer Mayer is a national treasure! Thank you for showcasing these tiny books!

    Like

    • Both have given such wonderful contributions to the children’s book world. Thanks, Bobbi!

      Like

  2. Reblogged this on Jennie's Joyful Jots … and commented:
    Aren’t these Littles the cutest ever?

    Like

  3. Love this! My older sister and I used to hand sew tiny books with felt covers for our Muffy dolls. We had many of these tiny books you’ve showcased – I’d forgotten all about the Joan Walsh Anglund “Pocketful of Proverbs.” We were crazy for her art. I had the Sendak tiny books too. Love this link to the Bronte tinies. Amazing!!

    Like

    • Your little books sound wonderful and I’m glad my pictures brought back memories for you. Isn’t that a great link, you can see inside every page and even read Charlotte’s tiny handwriting!

      Like

  4. Another fun post, Marcia. I have 2 tiny books. One is actually a Christmas tree ornament, but it’s a real book with a simple Christmas story (about 1″ x 2″ to my recollection). The other is in my grandmother’s “treasure” chest – a box full of old oddities that she would look through with the grandchildren. It’s a bible 1″ x 1-1/2″ (I just measured). I never knew there was a miniature book society!

    Like

    • Both of your tiny books sound very special. I never knew there was a society either. Thanks to the internet we can all easily find a group of kindred spirits if we choose. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Fascinating! Loved the Charlotte Bronte link – exquisite.

    Like

  6. Colleen

    What adorable little books! I especially like the tiny fairy tales. Thank you for another lovely post, Marcia!

    Like

    • Fairy tales do seem to suit these small scale books. You’re welcome, Colleen, hope all is well!

      Like

  7. mirkabreen

    Looking at the images of the covers, i got nostalgic for the graphics of yesteryear. Like a true librarian, you have a good feel for arranging books in a most appealing way.
    But as to physical books getting tiny and tinier, if only my eyes didn’t require print to get large and then larger…

    Like

    • Yes, I certainly agree. I’d much prefer to read larger print, it’s so much easier on the eyes!

      Like

  8. I love these tiny books, Marcia. I have a number as well. Thanks for the link to the Minature Book Society.

    Like

  9. Love seeing these! Most are new to me. I’ve always been fascinated with the Brontes’ juvenalia. Didn’t realize 9 of their tiny books are in the Houghton Library! Thanks for sharing these treasures. 🙂

    Like

    • Hi Jama! I guess there are 20 surviving books, split up between museums. The two other Bronte sisters made some, too, but apparently those were never saved. I’m glad decluttering wasn’t a trend back when the authors of many famous classics lived or we’d have so much less ‘stuff’ to enjoy. 🙂

      Like

  10. I’ve never seen a tiny book in person. Yours are precious.

    Like

    • I sometimes see them now as little gift ideas near the checkout area of bookstores. Thanks, Anne!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. How neat!!

    Like

    • Thanks for taking the time to let me know you enjoyed the post, Jessica!

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are welcome. Health issues have been keeping me off my blog and reading other blogs lately. I am sorry I am so far behind. Love these little books. So cute.

        Like

        • So sorry to hear you haven’t been feeling well, Jessica. Sending best wishes for good health to be with you very very soon.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I appreciate that very much. Finally found a wonderful doctor. Thank you.

            Liked by 1 person

  12. This brings back wonderful memories of some of the tiny book sets that I received as gifts when I was a child. I’m not sure, but I almost think that I had the Christmas Nutshell Library. Those books look very familiar.

    Like

    • That would be fun if we both had the same Nutshell Library. 🙂 The books are very well made and still seem quite new.

      Like

  13. I love these, Marcia. While we both have the first, I have not seen the rest. The Mercer Mayer books are a treasure. Well, they ALL are a treasure. Thank you for sharing!

    Like

  14. I loved this post Marcia; I don’t have any tiny books in my collection, although I have sold quite a few through the years. I guess I’m going to have to start a new collection! 🙂

    Like

  15. These are adorable. and I love the necklace!

    Like

  16. oh these are so cute!!

    Like

  17. Marcia, I’m very impressed by the condition of your tiny books (and your daughter’s). You’ve kept them well! The Frog series sounds like something I’d love to read on a lazy afternoon.

    Like

    • It seems my old tiny books must be more sturdily made, no loose pages or broken corners. Plus, of course, most come in their own little bookcase which keeps them extra safe. You’ll have to find the Frog books, perhaps your library will have them in their larger form. 🙂

      Like

  18. Ashley

    These are super!! I didn’t know tiny books had been around for so long!

    Like

  19. These are adorable. I love these tiny books!!

    Like

    • Aren’t they the cutest?! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have the complete novels of Jane Austen tiny book. Condensed versions of course. Very cute!

        Like

        • Oh my, I’m going to have to look up those tiny Austen books, they sound wonderful!

          Like

  20. Bette Norton

    What a nice collection of tiny books you have! I have a few myself. I also have a little bible that is about 1 inch to 1 x 1/2 inches. It is white with gold lettering. It belonged to my husband’s great grandmother or grandmother. It is quite old. I too have the Nutcracker book. I love your display of tiny books especially Charlotte Bronte and her brother Branwell’s collection. A very delightful post! 🙂

    Like

    • Your itsy bitsy bible sounds adorable and very special. Thanks for sharing the details!

      Like

  21. What fun Marcia!!! Love the books you’ve had since you were young– they look brand new! And I have the 4 Frogs in a Box set here on my bookshelf too. I didn’t know there were little Golden Books. Gong to look them up. Always love reading your posts– the best! thanks Marcia– And how is your summer going?? I’m just home from 10 days up in San Francisco staying with kids. hugs hugs!

    Like

    • Hi Rhonda, ten days in SF sounds like a nice getaway. My summer is going well, although as always it’s flying by way too fast. I’m planning to put up a quick post of summer scenes soon. Keep cool and Happy July! 🙂

      Like

      • Hi Marcia!! Know what you mean about the days flying by… Loved your scenes or summer outings!! So much green and sunshine! thanks for letting us see it all- xox

        Like

Please leave a comment--I'd love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: