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Tarka the Otter

Written by Henry Williamson

Illustrated by Annabel Large

Part of the Puffin Classics Series

Featured Books for 11+ readers Featured Books for 9+ readers Recommended Children's eBooks Animals

LoveReading View on Tarka the Otter

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:
'It is a rare gift indeed for a storyteller to be a poet as much as a storymaker, to tell a tale so deeply engaging that the reader wants to know what will happen and never wants it to end, and yet at the same tells it in such a way as to leave a reader wide-eyed with amazement at the sheer intensity of feeling that can be induced by the word-magic of a poet.  Henry Williamson is just such a story-maker poet.'

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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!

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Tarka the Otter Synopsis

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...

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Tarka the Otter 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 >

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780141354958
Publication date: 03/07/2014
Publisher: Puffin Classics an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780141354958
Publication date: 3rd July 2014
Author: Henry Williamson
Illustrator: Annabel Large
Publisher: Puffin Classics an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 352 pages
Suitable for: 11+ readers, 9+ readers
Genres: Animals
Recommendations: eBooks, Reviewed by Children
Other Categories: Classics

About 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 ...

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