Reader Reviewed Tarka the Otter by Henry Williamson

Tarka the Otter

Written by Henry Williamson
Illustrated by Annabel Large
Part of the A Puffin Book Series

9+ readers   Classics   11+ readers   eBooks   
Download an extract Add to wishlist Share this book

The Lovereading4Kids comment

This is the classic story of an otter living in the Devonshire countryside which captures the feel of life in the wild as seen through the otter's own eyes. It is full of joy and wonder, as well as death, sadness and brutality and yet it is an inspirational portrait of a vanished time, seen from Tarka's viewpoint. Often harrowing, the story details Tarka's constant battle with the otter hounds, and in particular their fearsome leader Deadlock. Most of us will have never seen an otter in the wild or be likely to see one and yet once you've read the story of Tarka the Otter you will not only know exactly what they look like, you will also know their mannerisms and crucially having read the novel, you will also realise how man's impact almost drove them to extinction.

A message from Michael Morpurgo about Henry Williamson and his writing:


Puffin Fact! The iconic character Annie first appeared as the eleven-year-old heroine of a comic strip called ‘Little Orphan Annie’. Download more Puffin Facts here!


Dear readers, dreamers and adventurers,

Ever wanted a friend who could take you to magical realms, talk to animals or help you survive a shipwreck? Well, you'll find them all in the PUFFIN BOOK collection.

A PUFFIN BOOK will stay with you forever. Maybe you'll read it again and again, or perhaps years from now you'll suddenly remember the moment it made you laugh or cry or simply see things differently. Adventurers big and small, rebels out to change their world, even a mouse with a dream and a spider who can spell - these are the characters who make stories that last a lifetime. Whether you love animal tales, war stories or want to know what it was like growing up in a different time and place, the A PUFFIN BOOK collection has a story for you - you just need to decide where you want to go next...

We want to know which is your favourite. Tell us or tweet a photo of your old beloved copy - and we might just send you a new A PUFFIN BOOK so you can pass the story on.

Love - PUFFIN @puffinbooks #shareapuffinbook

Reader Reviews

Kids love to read and so in addition to our Lovereading4kids expert opinion some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel members were also lucky enough to read and review this as well as a number of other titles in the A PUFFIN BOOK series. You can view all the reviews of the A PUFFIN BOOK titles that our kids panel have read and reviewed by clicking here or scroll down to see the kids reviews for this title.

  • Class 6H - Freegrounds junior School, age 11  - 'Timeless classic, enjoyable to read at any age!' Read full review >
  • Emily Lonsdale, age 8 and Mum - 'Interesting book about the world through an Otters eyes. Language amazing and details of the countryside beautiful.' Read full review >


Tarka the Otter by Henry Williamson

Tarka the otter grows up with his mother and sisters, learning how to swim and catch fish, and to fear the sound of the hunter's horn. Soon he must fend for himself and he travels through rivers and woods, and out to sea in his fierce battle for survival. But eventually, chased by a pack of dog hounds, Tarka comes face to face with Deadlock, his most fearsome enemy...

To find out more about the otters download a Special Puffin Extra!

Visit our Puffin Category to see the full range of titles

puffin range

About the Author

Henry Williamson

Henry Williamson was born in Brockley, south-east London. After leaving school he enlisted in the London Rifle Brigade and served as a private in the Flanders trenches, where he was present for the Christmas Truce of 1914. His experiences of the First World War continued to surface in his writing, most notably in the semi-autobiographical series of books A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight (1951-1969). He moved to north Devon in 1921, where, inspired by the books of Richard Jefferies, Williamson started writing lyrical essays and stories about wildlife, which included his two most popular and critically acclaimed creations: Tarka the Otter (1927) and Salar the Salmon (1935). He was awarded the Hawthornden Prize for Literature in 1928, and with the £100 prize money bought a field and built himself a hut, where Salar was written.

More books by this author

Loading similar books...

Other Formats

Book Info


352 pages
Interest Age: From 9


Henry Williamson
More books by Henry Williamson


Puffin Classics an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd

Publication date

3rd July 2014




Lovereading is just a convenient way to find new books and hear others opinions on them.

Sarah Murray – age 15

It is fantastic, you get to read lots of books and you always find something new and amazing in them.

Erica Motoc, age 7

It has introduced my children to books we hadn’t come across before. Real children’s reviews gives a great insight into what others think to

Lorraine Woods

At @HHSHaringey we love @lovereading4kids because our pupils can practice reviewing & get free upcoming books before anyone else!

Helen Swinyard – Heartlands High

I love finding new books to read. My mummy and me look at the new ones coming out. I have written reviews of some of them!

Jessica Cobbin – age 7

It gives me a chance to read types of books that I would not normally try, and it motivates me to read every night to finish it!

Alice Horncastle, age 14

Lovereading4kids is great, we get books really early never late. We love to read and review, and think you would like it too. The excitement

Jasmine Harris-Hart, age 12

I think Lovereading4kids is an amazing company because of the friendly staff and the fabulous chance to read great books before publication.

Adam Graham

Lovereading 4 schools