Tarka the Otter

By Henry Williamson, Charles Tunnicliffe (illustrator),

Book cover of Tarka the Otter

Book description

"Twilight over meadow and water, the eve-star shining above the hill, and Old Nog the heron crying kra-a-ark! as his slow dark wings carried him down to the estuary."

A beautiful hardback gift edition of one of the most famous animal stories in children's literature. TARKA THE OTTER is the…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked Tarka the Otter as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This is the only book I remember reading as a child, and I couldn’t recall much about it except that it made a strong impression at the time.

Reading it again this year, forty years on, it is a breathlessly exciting and deeply moving account of the life of the riverbank, infused with local language and practice, sharp as any of the brilliant current crop of nature writers in its observational eye for detail, and hard as nails on the raw cycle of life and death in Tarka’s life.

The naming of the animals is the only element that points…

Tarka the Otter was first published in 1927 which means it looks very different to modern children’s books—mostly in the absence of dialogue. Some would say that you won’t be able to read it because ‘children today have no concentration span.’ But you are still reading this aren’t you, so I say give it a go. I have lived in Kenya for over a decade now and I love the way that this book reminds me of the landscape of my first home: “Twilight over meadow and water, the eve-star shining above the hill, and Old Nog the heron crying…

From Virginia's list on told from the point of view of animals.

I have been working on a book about otters for the last couple of years, and I returned to this classic remembering how much I’d both loved and hated it as a child. I loved the wonderful first-person descriptions of Tarka’s water life, and his joy exploring the river – and I was devastated by the terrifying scenes of the otter hunt. An amazing book, but definitely one to share with your children, to talk about our effect on animals and the natural world.

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