The most recommended otter books

Who picked these books? Meet our 12 experts.

12 authors created a book list connected to otters, and here are their favorite otter books.
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What type of otter book?


Book cover of The Animals of Farthing Wood

J.S. Allen Author Of Remnants of Light

From my list on YA fantasy series to start with.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been an ardent fantasy reader since I was very young, and have been a writer for nearly as long. The idea of being able to weave together an original narrative that can be entertaining, educational, and instructive at the same time is a concept that has fascinated me well into adulthood, and one that I continue to explore in my reading and writing to this day, whether short form or long; fiction or non.

J.S.'s book list on YA fantasy series to start with

J.S. Allen Why did J.S. love this book?

This is another series I found completely by accident, but was not disappointed. In this series, though they can speak and talk like humans, the animals truly are and live as animals.

While some may find this a bit slow compared to some of the more anthropomorphic stories out there, it is really a fascinating mixture of a survival tale combined with societal commentary regarding the age-old conflict of nature versus nurture, in this case asking whether a group of different animals—some carnivorous and some herbivorous—can cooperate long enough to reach the safety of a new home.

By Colin Dann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Animals of Farthing Wood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

ANIMALS OF FARTHING WOOD: THE ADVENTURE BEGINS by Colin Dann is the exciting prequel to The Animals of Farthing Wood which takes the reader right back to the very beginning.

There had always been otters in the stream running through Farthing Wood - and that had never been a problem for the other animals before but when there is a shortage of fish in the stream, the otters are forced to hunt on land.The otters are taking valuable prey and the foxes and other Farthing Wood animals have to compete for food. Lean Vixen is determined to protect her family…

Book cover of Circus of Thieves on the Rampage, 2

Helen Laycock Author Of Glass Dreams

From my list on circus stories for readers eight and up.

Why am I passionate about this?

I remember reading Enid Blyton’s Mr. Galliano’s Circus as a child and was fascinated more by the idea of circus life than the actual performance aspect. I still adore watching high-quality circus feats performed by acrobats and love that frisson of excitement as everyone shuffles into their seats just before showtime. When I began writing children’s books, my aim was to give the child characters room to develop resilience and courage while encountering danger and adventure without the presence of adults. In order to do this, I had to somehow remove parental figures. Running away is the perfect literary device to achieve this which is how Glass Dreams came about.

Helen's book list on circus stories for readers eight and up

Helen Laycock Why did Helen love this book?

Who doesn’t enjoy a fast-paced caper?

This story is full of quirky illustrations, colourful characters, and funny footnotes. Often conversational, Sutcliffe frequently addresses the reader as he relays the shenanigans leading up to circus legend and aerialist supreme, Quennie Bombazine’s cunning plan to catch her nemesis, Armitage Shanks, while at the same time reuniting Hannah and Billy with their circus father.

I would say that for reluctant readers who enjoy visual prompts and more of a comic-style format, this would be perfect.

By William Sutcliffe, David Tazzyman (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Circus of Thieves on the Rampage, 2 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

'Utterly madcap adventure of sabotage and adventure... wonderfully supported by equally crazy illustrations... nothing short of hilarious' The Guardian

'Funny, Bizarre and brilliantly illustrated by David Tazzyman, this is perfect for anyone who loves Mr Gum' Sunday Express on Circus of Thieves and the Raffle of Doom

Get ready for rampages, chunky tandem rides, marching dogs, escaped convicts, synchronised otters and so much more! Shank's Impossible Circus is back...

There are 7,362 things that Armitage Shank hates and at the top of the list (which includes puppies, rainbows, lifts and flashing trainers...) is being made a fool of. So, when…

Book cover of Ring of Bright Water: A Trilogy

Kenneth Steven Author Of Iona: New and Selected Poems

From my list on spiritual places.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fortunate enough to have had a different kind of life. I was brought up by two writers who took me to magical places, far away from cities, to meet magical people. I spent my childhood searching for horse chestnuts and looking for otters. I wasn’t interested in electronic games and loud music: I wanted instead to be out in nature, watching for wild things and listening to the song of birds. It comes back to Iona, to this tiny little island on the west coast of Scotland which I will feel always is my spiritual home. In that place, I have everything I need. Nothing that a big city can offer tempts. Ever.

Kenneth's book list on spiritual places

Kenneth Steven Why did Kenneth love this book?

This is a work of non-fiction, and it’s my very favourite in the world. On one level it’s about a man who leaves the world behind and goes to live in the most remote corner he can find to live with a pet otter. But it’s about a whole lot more than that. Gavin Maxwell brings to life the sound of the birds and the crashing of the waves; you can smell the seashore beyond the door of the house and you can walk out onto the beach to see the beauty in every direction. It’s a love song to the natural world, that’s what it is. And if it doesn’t leave you moved, then you’re harder than stone.

By Gavin Maxwell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ring of Bright Water as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The classic account of otters in the Scottish highlands and the naturalist who cared for them there.

While touring the Iraqi marshes, Gavin Maxwell was captivated by an otter and became a devoted advocate of and spokesman for the species. Maxwell moved to a remote house in the Scottish highlands, co-habiting there with three otters and living an idyllic and isolated life at least for a while. Fate, fame, and fire conspired against this paradise, and it, too, came to an end, though the journey was filled with incident and wonder.

An extraordinarily evocative writer, Maxwell was also talented as…

Book cover of Maximus the Platypus Finds His Family

Deanie Humphrys-Dunne Author Of My Life at Sweetbrier: A Life Changed by Horses

From my list on encouraging children to believe in themselves.

Why am I passionate about this?

My parents encouraged me to become a children’s author when I was very young. At first, I thought that was the silliest idea ever, but I found creating stories to be fun and inspiring. I’ve been an award-winning published author since 2009, when I had an intuition to try writing stories for children. I love being a role model for children; someone who can show them that they can achieve much more than they imagine if they persevere. My personal story, My Life at Sweetbrier; A Life Changed by Horses, is a testament that remarkable things can be accomplished through perseverance. I’m honored my work has earned many literary awards. 

Deanie's book list on encouraging children to believe in themselves

Deanie Humphrys-Dunne Why did Deanie love this book?

Maximus is a cute fellow, who is much larger than the average platypus. Max has a loving family, but he endures a trauma when his bed floats away from home during a rainstorm and he loses track of this family. Max encounters other animals who have some of the same traits. For example, Deedee Duck has a bill like Max and similar feet, but she’s not related. Soon Max meets Ollie the Otter, hoping they were part of the same family. Ollie admits their tails look alike, but still; they are not related. In the end, all of the animals Max meets help reunite him with his grandparents. Max is delighted, but he also realizes his new friends are part of his extended family. I loved that message and found the illustrations to be endearing.

By Andi Cann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Maximus the Platypus Finds His Family as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Maximus, a cute Platypus, is lost! A great big storm swept him away from his grandparents. Where could they be? He must find them! Along the way, he meets friends who look a little bit like him. Will he ever find his family? Find out what happens!
Another great family-friendly book for kids by Andi Cann with special details about the unique traits of a platypus animal!

Book cover of The Redwall Cookbook

Cassandra Reeder Author Of The Geeky Chef Cookbook: Real-Life Recipes for Fantasy Foods

From my list on cookbooks written by storytellers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a food blogger and cookbook author who has been making up recipes for fictional foods from fantasy and science fiction since I was old enough to walk and talk. I love building a bridge between stories, imagination, fandom and food. For over a decade, with a lot of research and some really bad puns, I have been helping other geeks and nerds all over the world make their fictional food fantasies come true.

Cassandra's book list on cookbooks written by storytellers

Cassandra Reeder Why did Cassandra love this book?

This little cookbook is beautifully illustrated and quite simply, magical. Fans of The Redwall series know that it was filled with delightful feasts made and enjoyed by its equally delightful woodland characters. The recipes in this book are based on the novels and arranged by seasons, which I find really immersive and fun. A sip of Strawberry Fizz in the summertime, a gulp of spicy hotroot soup in winter… It really makes you feel like a fieldmouse nestled in your cozy little burrow.

By Brian Jacques,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Redwall Cookbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ever read a Redwall novel and wonder exactly what Abbot’s Special Abbey Trifle is? Or how to make Shrimp ’N Hotroot Soup, that delicacy of otters everywhere? Or Mole’s Favourite Turnip and Tater Deeper ’N Ever Pie? From the simple refreshment of Summer Strawberry Fizz to Great Hall Gooseberry Fool, they’re all here, along with dozens of other favorites sure to turn young hands into seasoned chefs, illustrated in full color with all the charm and magic that is Redwall. A gift like no other for fans of the series, old or new.

Book cover of The Running Hare

Jane Wilson-Howarth Author Of A Glimpse of Eternal Snows: A Journey of Love and Loss in the Himalayas

From my list on enjoying wildlife when travelling.

Why am I passionate about this?

I put my hand where I couldn’t see it and was repaid for my foolishness by a scorpion sting. I was the doctor on an expedition to Madagascar and my friends thought their doctor was going to die. I was already fascinated with the ways animals interact with humans and this incident brought such reactions into sharp focus. Working as a physician in England, Nepal, and elsewhere, I’ve collected stories about ‘creepy crawlies’, parasites, and chance meetings between people and wildlife. Weird, wonderful creatures and wild places have always been my sources of solace and distraction from the challenging life of a working doctor and watching animals has taught me how to reassure and work with scared paediatric patients.

Jane's book list on enjoying wildlife when travelling

Jane Wilson-Howarth Why did Jane love this book?

This is another absolute gem of a book: about the English countryside and its wildlife. It is atmospheric, evocative, authoritative, informative, fascinating, closely observed, and well-researched. It is sobering too though about how intensive agriculture is destroying our natural heritage, and it is food for thought for those of us who enjoy travelling to enjoy wildlife tourism when the key species in our own back yards are struggling so.

Lewis-Stempel is a lyrical writer: ‘Up on those dark but heavenly hills skylarks sang, otters swam in the brook, and polecats eyed up the chickens. Where our friend lived was beautiful, but as life-full as a cemetery. Someone had removed all the birds.’

By John Lewis-Stempel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Running Hare as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?




Traditional ploughland is disappearing. Seven cornfield flowers have become extinct in the last twenty years. Once abundant, the corn bunting and the lapwing are on the Red List. The corncrake is all but extinct in England. And the hare is running for its life.

Written in exquisite prose, The Running Hare tells the story of the wild animals and plants that live in and under our ploughland, from the labouring microbes to the patrolling kestrel above the corn, from the…

Book cover of Do Unto Otters: A Book about Manners

Constance Lombardo Author Of Tiny Spoon vs. Little Fork

From my list on hysterically funny picture books.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve worked with kids in preschools and elementary schools, (plus I’m a mom!) and to me, nothing is better than hearing kids laugh. I also just adore picture books and treasure my personal library, with its focus on (you guessed it!) humor. Sassy cats, bears who want to have kids for pets, chickens who interrupt, alphabets overrun by frustrated Zebras, picture books bravely go where other books might only tiptoe in a cowardly fashion—into the world of wild imagination and anthropomorphized everything. With amazing artwork!! Let’s be honest, I’ll choose funny picture books over War and Peace every time.

Constance's book list on hysterically funny picture books

Constance Lombardo Why did Constance love this book?

New neighbors have moved into the forest—they’re otters, and this news has thrown rabbit into a tizzy. But Owl volunteers to help by going over some basic manners! With lines like “It simply means treat otters the same way you’d like otters to treat you,” this book is certifiably hysterical. Keller has a way of making every moment a source of humor- with diagrams, speech bubbles, and lively illustrations that have a wonderfully retro feel. Extra points for lots of puns (one of the Otters is reading Harry Otter!) Plus it turns out Otter can say please in five languages! Looks like everything’s gonna be okay. 

By Laurie Keller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Do Unto Otters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

"Do not do to others that which would anger you if others did it to you."—Socrates (the Greek philosopher), circa 470-399 B.C.

Mr. Rabbit's new neighbors are Otters. OTTERS! But he doesn't know anything about Otters. Will they get along? Will they be friends? Just treat otters the same way you'd like them to treat you, advises wise Mr. Owl. And so begins Mr. Rabbit's reflection on good manners.

In her smart, quirky style Laurie Keller highlights how to be a good friend and neighbor—just follow the Golden Rule! This title has Common Core connections.

A Junior Library Guild Selection…

Book cover of Otter in Space

Evonne Blanchard Author Of Amelia, the Merballs and the Emerald Cannon

From my list on space books that will launch your kids into orbit.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a science fiction and fantasy children’s book author, who loves everything about space and science fiction. I’ve been fascinated by space ever since I was little; mesmerized by clips of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking on the moon. As a teenager, War of the Worlds by H.G Wells was my favorite book! My daughter’s complete lack of interest in space inspired me to write a space adventure series. How could I make space entertaining? When it comes to children, I’m a big fan of mixing space facts with a dollop of space fiction, so I hope you will enjoy the collection of books on this list!

Evonne's book list on space books that will launch your kids into orbit

Evonne Blanchard Why did Evonne love this book?

I’m a big fan of mixing books about space facts with space fiction. So, after reading all about space facts little ones can read about Otter’s fictional space adventure. Have you ever dreamed of flying to the moon? Well after a trip to the museum, where Otter does not get the space rock he so desperately covets, Otter does! An elaborate moon-landing plot evolves. Otter will build his own rocket, fly to the moon and get his own moon rock! Teddy and Giraffe are tasked with special missions, although Otter feels like he ends up doing most of the work. Kids will love Otter’s adventurous spirit, whilst adults may well sympathize with the Otter Keeper, responsible for such a mischievous creature!

By Sam Garton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Otter in Space as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Fans of picture book characters like Llama Llama will love the curious, charming, and playful Otter, who made her debut in I Am Otter. In her second book, Otter in Space, she and her best friend, Teddy, set off on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure-to the moon! Otter's utterly winning voice and Sam Garton's classic yet fresh artwork combine to create a truly hilarious and unforgettable friendship story, with a classroom hook. Otter in Space is all about creativity, problem solving, and the power of imagination.

Book cover of Otter Country: In Search of the Wild Otter

Leif Bersweden Author Of The Orchid Hunter: A Young Botanist's Search for Happiness

From my list on nature in Britain.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a writer and a botanist with a lifelong interest in nature. I grew up in southern England where I spent my time running around the fields and woods searching for birds, insects and wild plants (as one does). As well as writing about nature, I run plant identification training courses and have a genetics PhD.

Leif's book list on nature in Britain

Leif Bersweden Why did Leif love this book?

Miriam Darlington is my favourite author and Otter Country is one of the most thumbed, tatty-cornered, precious books that I own. I love it: for its voice, its humour and its beautiful prose. Darlington takes you on a gentle meander through the world of the otter in the most relatable of writing styles. She doesn’t start out as an otter expert; she learns as she goes, and so do you. Everything about this book is wonderful, and I would say the same about her other book, Owl Sense, which I have only left off this list because I wanted to cover five different authors!

By Miriam Darlington,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Otter Country as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Over the course of a year, Miriam Darlington travelled around Britain in search of wild otters; from her home in Devon to the wilds of Scotland; to Cumbria, Wales, Northumberland, Cornwall, Somerset and the River Lea; to her childhood home near the Ouse, the source of her watery obsession.
Otter Country follows Darlington's search through different landscapes, seasons, weather and light, as she tracks one of Britain's most elusive animals. During her journey, she meets otter experts, representatives of the Environment Agency, conservationists, ecologists, walkers, Henry Williamson's family, Gavin Maxwell's heir; zoo keepers, fishermen, scientists, hunters and poets. Above all…

Book cover of The Dragonbards Trilogy: Complete in One Volume

Sylvia Engdahl Author Of This Star Shall Abide

From my list on YA about imaginary worlds.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been interested in worlds other than ours, primarily extraterrestrial worlds because I believe expansion into space is vital to the future survival of humankind, but also fantasy worlds that illuminate ideas and feelings that are universal. I’ve written the Newbery Honor book Enchantress from the Stars and ten other science fiction novels, a classification that limits their discovery because they're often liked better by people who read little if any science fiction than by avid fans of that genre. Because they’re set in imaginary worlds distant from Earth—and are not fantasy because they contain no mythical creatures or magic—there is nothing else to call them. I wish books didn’t have to be labeled with categories!

Sylvia's book list on YA about imaginary worlds

Sylvia Engdahl Why did Sylvia love this book?

I don't ordinarily care for stories about dragons or speaking animals, but this book's beautifully written descriptions of them and their world made it compelling, and the singing dragons remained in my memory long after the first time I read it. Moreover, the familiar elements of such fantasy–a hidden prince, animal companions, magical objects, imprisonment in a dungeon, and so forth--are here presented in unique and believable ways. The protagonists are heroic but vulnerable and the villains who seek to enslave the world are truly evil, so that the reader feels that what happens to them really matters. And looking it over recently, I was struck by the realization that in the years since its first publication in the 1980s the timeliness of the story has increased.

By Shirley Rousseau Murphy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Dragonbards Trilogy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book 1: Nightpool. As dark raiders invade the world of Tirror, a singing dragon awakens from her long slumber, searching for the human who can vanquish the forces of evil—Tebriel, son of the murdered king. Teb has found refuge in Nightpool, a colony of speaking otters. But a creature of the Dark is also seeking him, and the battle to which he is drawn will decide Tirror’s future.Book 2: The Ivory Lyre. The bard Tebriel and his singing dragon Seastrider together can weave powerful spells. With other dragons searching for their own bards, they have been inciting revolts throughout the…