Children’s Literature

Mustelids have a long history in children’s literature. Most often they’re found in British, or other European novels based in the early 20th century.

Rather than list literature that has a minor mustelid character appearing in just one or two paragraphs, below are fictional novels and comics that have a mustelid as the protagonist, antagonist or deuteragonist. Some of the books listed below are rare gems that are out-of-print, but many of them can be found used online.

Literature by Species

American Mink

(1) A Mink’s Story by Emil E. Liers [ISBN: 978-0812702057]

A year in the life of a mother mink, her two litters of kits, and their animal friends and enemies near the Mississippi River in Minnesota and Wisconsin.  – Amazon source.

(2) Billy Mink by Thornton W. Burgess [ISBN: 978-0486481074]

Join Billy the mink, Bobby the raccoon, and Jumper the hare as they battle the rats – a crew of robbers that takes over the Big Barn and makes life miserable for the peaceful creatures of the Green Forest.

Thornton Burgess has written hundreds of animal storybooks stretching from 1910 to the 1960s. His books occasionally include mustelid characters such as Digger the badger, Glutton the wolverine, Billy the mink, Joe the otter, Shadow the weasel; Pekan the fisher and Spite the marten.

(3) Northern Mink by Keenan Poloncsak [ISBN: 978-0-9952795-3-7]

This is a story about a wild mink living in the boreal forest of Québec; particularly a young mink named Oakley, who is fascinated with the lake on the other side of the road. This is a trilingual book written in English, French and Inuktitut.

(4) Phantom the White Mink by Hal G. Evarts

Requires a synopsis.

(5) The Tale of Peter Mink (Sleepy-Time Tales) by Arthur Scott Bailey [ISBN: 978-1406521290]

Requires a synopsis.

Badgers

(1) Badger in the Basement by Ben M. Baglio, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas [ISBN: 978-0590187541]

When James leads Mandy to a badger sett he’s been watching, they find it has been deliberately destroyed. Even worse, they discover an abandoned cub. As well as looking for a new home for the young badger Mandy and James begin to unearth some suspicious activities in Piper’s Wood.

(2) Badger’s New House by Robin Muller [ISBN: 978-0805063837]

Badger loves his cozy little cottage. The door sticks and the shutters bang, but Badger doesn’t mind-until a huge storm makes a mess of his house. He doesn’t think he can fix the damage, so he sells the cottage to Grandmother Mouse and moves to a lovely mansion.

However, Badger feels lost and lonely in his huge new house, so he’s happy when Grandmother Mouse invites him to tea. He doesn’t even mind fixing the sticking door. Each time Badger visits he fixes something else, and soon the little cottage is as good as new. The only problem is that it’s too small for Grandmother Mouse’s family to visit, but Badger can fix that, too!

(3) Badger’s Parting Gifts by Susan Varley [ISBN: 978-0688115180]

All the woodland creatures—Mole, Frog, Fox, and Rabbit—love old Badger, who is their confidante, advisor, and friend. When he dies, they are overwhelmed by their loss. Then they begin to remember and treasure the memories he left them.

Told simply, directly, and honestly, this uplifting story will be of tremendous value to both children and their parents. A gentle classic that can help foster communication, care, and understanding.

(4) The Bill Badger series (8 books) by Denys Watkins-Pitchford

The series begins as Bill Badger and Izzybizzy the hedgehog set out on the canal in their narrow boat ‘Wandering Wind’. They have a cargo of conkers, and hidden beneath them is a treasure, but they must defend it against Big Ginger and his band of fierce cats.

The series included eight books over a decade from the first in 1957 (Wandering Wind, reprinted as Bill Badger and the Wandering Wind). The final in the series was Bill Badger and the Voyage to the World’s End in 1969.

(5) Boris the Lost Badger by Brian Hainsworth, illustrated by Mair Perkins [ISBN: 978-1781485859]

This is an illustrated children’s book about English woodland wildlife. The author wrote the book to inspire and educate children about nature and to use as a fun learning resource for when children visit his Staffordshire based farm. In the story, Boris the badger is heading home along a winding track. Has as to make a choice, left or right? Which way will take him back? Journey along with Boris as he tries to find his way home. In the wood he meets a number of creatures, from bees to butterflies, snails to squirrels. Will anybody help him to get back to the badger sett?

(6) Digger the Badger Decides to Stay by Thornton W. Burgess

Digger the Badger is without a home, and watches Old Mother West Wind open her bag and shake out her children Merry Little Breezes, and this helps him to decide to stay in Green Meadows.

Thornton Burgess has written hundreds of animal storybooks stretching from 1910 to the 1960s. His books occasionally include mustelid characters such as Digger the badger, Glutton the wolverine, Billy the mink, Joe the otter, Shadow the weasel; Pekan the fisher and Spite the marten.

 (7) The Fern Hollow book series (17 books) by John Patience

The series of books revolve around a village populated by anthropomorphic animals in an early 20th century setting. These stories are illustrated in a beautiful traditional style. The majority of mustelids that appear are badgers Brock Gruffy, Farmer and Mrs Bramble. One book centres around a couple of weasels in the Brass Band Robbery, but we felt it was best to include it here, rather than give the book it’s own species category.

We are unsure if a mustelid appears in every book, but it does seem badgers are included in most of them.

(8) The Rupert Bear comic strip by Mary Tourtel (1920–35), Alfred Bestall (1935–74), Freddie Chaplain (1965–78), James Henderson (1978–1990), Ian Robinson (1990–2002) and Stuart Trotter (2008–)

Since November of 1920, this comic strip has been published daily in the Daily Express, with many of these stories being printed in books. In this comic an anthropomorphic European badger named Bill Badger is the best friend of the main character Rupert.

(9) The Tale of Benny Badger (Sleepy-Time Tales) by Arthur Scott Bailey [ISBN: 978-1406592382]

Requires a synopsis.

(10) The Tale of Mr. Tod by Beatrix Potter [ISBN: 978-0723247838]

The tale is about a badger called Tommy Brock and his arch enemy Mr. Tod, a fox. Brock kidnaps the children of Benjamin Bunny and his wife Flopsy, intending to eat them, and hides them in an oven in the home of Mr. Tod. Benjamin and his cousin Peter Rabbit have followed Tommy Brock in an attempt to rescue the babies.

Ferrets & Polecats

(1) Farley the Ferret of Farkleberry Farm by Patricia Derrick [ISBN: 978-1933818122]

Farley the Ferret and Farmer Finley take fresh boysenberry jam (and bread) to the fair to share with the children. But, when the drought hit Foley County, there was no jam to share, no boysenberries anywhere. Children danced around the vines and made silent wishes in their minds. Find out what happened to the boysenberries.

(2) Felicia the Ferret & the Atom Smasher by Gary Duehr, illustrated by Joseph Chou [ISBN: 978-1945247484]

This book is inspired by the true story of Felicia the Fermilab Ferret. In 1971, she journeyed from her farm in Minnesota to the Fermilab particle accelerator near Chicago, where she played a key role in the atomic age and became world famous.

(3) The Ferret Chronicles series (6 books) by Richard Bach

A series of novels written from the point of view of anthropomorphic ferrets.

(4) Ferret Princess (Tales from the Keep) by Joan Lennon [ISBN: 9781846470646]

When trouble arrives at her castle, in the form of two disreputable younger sons looking for a kingdom to take over, the princess uses all her ferrety nous to win the day.

(5) Fuffles the Ferret by Ronald Schneider [ISBN: 978-0999337707]

Back in 1935 when 7-year-old Harold Samuels got Fuffles, few if any people kept ferrets as pets. Fewer even knew what a ferret was, including Harold, who when his father surprised him with Fuffles thought he was a weasel. Despite the mistake, Harold was immediately captivated by the small, cute, cuddly creature. He couldn’t take his eyes off of him or put him down. Quickly, Fuffles came to occupy a big place in Harold’s life. With the joys and fun came the responsibilities. And what Harold was soon to learn, sometimes to his distress and horror, was how much trouble, excitement and mischief a playful, curious ferret can cause.

(6) No Fair Ferret by Tracy White, illustrated by Valerie Lackey Stone [ISBN: 978-0979973826]

No Fair Ferret is a book about a black-footed ferret named Cecil, who can’t stop taking things that don’t belong to him. This behavior doesn’t go over well with the other neighborhood animals. Because ferrets are pick-pocketers by nature, he doesn’t even realize that he is being naughty. Eventually, Cecil learns to change his ways after meeting a lovable new friend. Once again, in her classic writing style, Tracy White charms us with this endearing story about a little ferret who learns a big lesson.

(7) Peach and Pun: The New Family Ferret by Ashieda, illustrated by Amory Abbott [ISBN: 978-1468584813]

Fuzzy creatures involved: Pun: a gentle yet excitable ferret who finds herself accepted into a new home, the already claimed territory of Peach! Peach: an adorably stubborn and, at times, fierce creature who feels the need to protect her home from this unseemly family member, Pun! Join us in this lovely animated and courageous tale of a ferret who outwits and perseveres during times of change. Can Peach and Pun both find some fun in growing together?

(8) Scruffy Hawk and Freddy Ferret by John Divenuto [ISBN: 978-1625103178]

Scruffy Hawk and Freddy Ferret is the story of two natural enemies who join forces when an environmental disaster entraps them and all the forest creatures.
Will they continue their animosity for each other, or will they learn the value of cooperation, friendship and team work, becoming heroes?
The reader will be kept in suspense while developing vocabulary skills along the way.

(9) Those Fun Lovin’ Ferrets & The Magical Stone! by Larry Johnson [ISBN: 978-0983356530]

The two siblings, Frinkles and Fusha Ferret are the two main fictional characters in the book. They are fun seeking, fun lovin,’ adventurous, and curious. The family moves from a mid size city in the United States to a seemingly quiet, boring, small town called Ark City which is anything but a city. What they see, learn and experience is far beyond their wildest expectations, especially when they discover there is a magical stone near their home down at the river’s edge.

(10) Wild and Free: The Story of a Black-Footed Ferret by Jo-Ellen C. Bosson [ISBN: 978-0924483684]

Nearly extinct because of man’s encroachment on their habitat, black-footed ferrets are given a new lease on life from conservation efforts. Read how a mother ferret keeps her family safe from dangerous predators.

(11) Zucchini by Barbara Dana [ISBN: 978-0553154375]

Zucchini, an independent young ferret, escapes from the Bronx Zoo, sets out to journey to the Oklahoma prairie, and ends up at the ASPCA, where he meets a new friend.

It should be noted that this book contains a number of incorrect basic facts about ferrets, such as claiming that they are herbivorous rodents.

(12) Zucchini Out West by Barbara Dana and Lynette Hemmant [ISBN: 978-0062036025]

Zucchini is Billy’s pet and his best friend. When biologists at the ASPCA think that Zucchini is a rare black-footed ferret, Billy is in a quandary. He loves animals and does everything he can to help the ecology, but realizes that he can’t keep an endangered animal as a pet. Can Billy do the right thing and risk losing Zucchini forever?

Fisher

(1) Ereth’s Birthday (Poppy) by Avi, illustrated by Brian Floca [ISBN: 978-0380804900]

The fourth book in the beloved Poppy series. Erethizon Dorsatum—better known as Ereth, the self-centered, foul-tempered old porcupine—is having a birthday; and he fully expects his best friend Poppy, a deer mouse, to help him celebrate in a grand manner. However, Poppy has gone off somewhere with her husband, Rye, and it appears she has forgotten all about it.

In this book a fisher named Marty stalks Ereth do him harm.

Martens

(1) Fling, the Story of the Pine Marten by H.G. Hurrell [ISBN: 978-0901474070]

Requires a synopsis.

(2) A St. Nicholas Story: The Fiercest Little Animal In The Forest by Terri Reinhart, illustrated by Patrick Reinhart [ISBN: 978-0984309306]

This book tells a simple version of the St. Nicholas story without bringing religion into it. Author’s words – “The image of this pine marten came to me one morning after I had been struggling to find just the right St. Nicholas story to tell to my kindergarten children. I could almost see this little creature in my imagination carrying the gold coins in his teeth and dropping them into the stockings. When story time came, I just started speaking the story and I allowed the pine marten to lead me.The story in this book is what resulted. This is the first time it has been published in book form.”

This book also contains beautiful illustrations of the pine marten character.

Otters

(1) The Adventures of Little Joe Otter by Thornton W. Burgess [ISBN: 978-0448127552]

The story of an otter, of his home and foods and of his friends and enemies who live near the Smiling Pool.

Thornton Burgess has written hundreds of animal storybooks stretching from 1910 to the 1960s. His books occasionally include mustelid characters such as Digger the badger, Glutton the wolverine, Billy the mink, Joe the otter, Shadow the weasel; Pekan the fisher and Spite the marten.

(2) Oscar Otter by Nathaniel Benchley [ISBN: 978-0064440257]

A young otter named Oscar likes to play slide, but his neighbor a beaver blocks his slide to build his own dam. Oscar has a clever idea to climb further up to build his slide, and that gets him into trouble with a series of other animals.

(3) Otter Moon by Tudor Humphries [ISBN: 978-1906250690]

In the land of the otters, Flibberty lay in his secret place, watching the moon rise and daydreaming instead of catching fish. So the King of the River sets him a seemingly impossible task: to find and serve him a great fish on a silver dish before daybreak.

The illustrations within this book are simply amazing, and are drawn by the author himself.

(4) Ripple-Swim the Otter by Elleston Trevor

Requires a synopsis.

(5) SQUIRT the Otter by Tracy L. Mikowski, illustrated by Peter Richard [ISBN: 978-0986028700]

When a baby otter was found in a farmer s field, Tracy the zookeeper was called to the rescue. She and her Welsh Corgi Muffin befriended Squirt. They opened their home to her and gave her all the love she needed to grow into a strong healthy otter, but not without their fair share of adventure and adversity along the way! This is a heartfelt story of love, compassion, and friendship. Tracy, Squirt, and Muffin help us reconnect to the natural world and show us how the bond between humans and creatures can flourish, especially when we open our hearts. – Amazon source.

Weasels

(1) The Animals Of Farthing Wood: Weasel’s Adventures by Colin Dann [ISBN: 978-0099522713]

Weasel and Measly now have a family, and decide that White Deer Park is no longer the best place for them. So they set off bravely into the big outside world with their two babies, Fido and Cleo, but finding the right home proves more difficult than they expected.

(2)  The Chesterton picture book series (5 books) by Dean Coe, illustrated by Robyn Whaples and Sasha Rudyakov

Chesterton is a series of books that feature an ever-curious and good natured Cape Cod weasel named Chesterton.

(3)  Ermine’s New Home by Stephanie Smith, illustrated by Robert Hynes [ISBN: 978-1931465175]

Ermine is growing up fast! He is ready to find a home of his own. But finding a new home is not an easy task, especially when a wolverine tries to make a meal out of Ermine. Will Ermine escape the deadly jaws of the wolverine and the unforgiving temperatures of the tundra? Featuring colorful illustrations and bonus facts about this amazing creature, Ermine’s New Home is also available with a realistic stuffed ermine toy, which is certain to spark your child’s imagination and foster his/her love of nature!

(4) Kärp by Harri Jõgisalu.

Requires a synopsis.

(5) Kattemor Som Vantrivdes På Setra (Translation: The Mother Cat Who Fled From The Shieling)
and Kattemor Hjemme Igjen (Translation: Back Home) by Synnøve Gill Dahl

Both books are part of a single story. This is a Norwegian-only tale that tells about a mother cat and her three kittens who embark on a journey back to their farm home after being brought to the shieling with the cattle for summer. Faced with a major obstacle in the form of a vast lake, the mother cat persuades a stoat to transport the kittens across to the other side, and promises to pay the favor with a mouse and a rat, and another mouse and a rat in return saving a kitten’s life. They agree to meet by the next full moon, but it’s easier said than done, as the rats turn out to be harder to catch than mother had bargained for.

The book is told in a way that offers kids and adults alike a first time glimpse into the world of animals sharing their lives with people, as well as the wilderness and how everything connects in nature. The tone of the book is honest, and while it’s filled with entertaining antics and charming characters, it’s deeply rooted in observations of real life behaviour.
It’s appropriate to give the female stoat a special mention here, as she is a great example of the balance between fact and fiction. Although stoats don’t make deals with cats in real life, her actions and solutions to the problems at hand educates the reader about the species’ abilities as both a creative survivor, a responsible mother and an effective predator. In the lake scene described above, the stoat uses a flat piece of wood as a transportation device. This could easily be interpreted as anthropomorphism, but it turns out it’s how stoats move their young across large bodies of water!

Published in 1950 this piece of work has no ISBN number, it’s out of print and given how hard it is to find a copy, there’s a particular attention to detail in the synopsis above.

(6) The Legend of the Flying Hotdog picture book by Celeste White [ISBN: 978-0881381313]

A weasel who enjoys playing practical jokes gradually changes into a flying hotdog, but a boy’s kindness convinces him to change his ways. – Amazon source.

(7) The Lion and the Stoat by Paul O. Zelinsky [ISBN: 978-0688025625]

Two great artists, a lion and a stoat, are in constant competition with each other.

(8) Never Tease a Weasel by Jean Conder Soule, illustrated by George Booth [ISBN: 978-0375872853]

A funny, finger-wagging rhyme with some very good advice: never tease a weasel.

There are apparently two versions of this book. The original was illustrated by Denman Hampson.

(9) The Strange Story of Slim the Stoat by R.D. Humber, illustrated by David Body

It is a fact of nature that when the weather gets very cold and the snow begins to fall, a stoat turns white. ‘Slim’ is the story of a stoat that turns white too soon. Poor Slim has terrible problems because of this. His problems are the problems of nature – the same problems that every child has to face at one time or another – of being too conspicuous, of being hungry or being unpopular. – Little White Crow source.

(10) Stoat and the Monsters by Anne Whyte, illustrated by Amanda Doyle [ISBN: 978-1723754616]

In the shadows of the night Stoat meets his friend Snake. Snake describes a fierce monster who has come to live in their neck of the woods. But who is this creature? Perhaps there is more than one! Maybe they are not fierce at all! Because lots of monsters are friendly and nice, Stoat sets off to find out.

(11) The Tale of Grumpy Weasel (Sleepy-Time Tales) by Arthur Scott Bailey

Requires a synopsis.

(12) The Travels of Ermine series (2 books) by Jennifer Gray

Ermine the Determined is a stoat who seeks to travel around the world. From New York to Sydney and beyond, her travels are full to the brim with adventure.

(13) The Wainscott Weasel by Tor Seidler [ISBN: 978-1481410113]

Bagley isn’t your typical trouble-making weasel—and he doesn’t mind if his non-weaselly ways prompt teasing from his friends. For while other young weasels dance under the pines, Bagley thinks about Bridget, the mesmerizing fish who lives in a pond down the brook from his den. As the two unlikely friends grow closer, Bagley realizes that there is big trouble in Bridget’s future. Only a true hero can save Bridget from the gruesome fate that awaits her, and this is exactly what Bagley, much to his own surprise, proves himself to be.

(14) Weasel in My Meatsafe by Phil Drabble [ISBN: 978-0718116354]

As an only child, the author enjoyed exploring the outdoors and catching everything from butterflies to newts. He tamed rats, hedgehogs, squirrels and stoats. Later, a badger came into the house, and he kept a weasel in his mearsafe.

(15) Weasel’s Perfect Present by Kathy Mattenklodt [ISBN: 978-1634891936]

It is the day before Weasel’s birthday, and the animals of Friendly Forest are on the hunt for the perfect present. However, Weasel believes that his friends have forgotten his special day and decides to snoop around.

(16) Weasels with Measles by Lesley Sims, illustrated by David Semple [ISBN: 978-1474946605]

The little weasels have woken up covered in spots! Have they really caught the measles? Find out in this entertaining story for beginner readers, with simple rhyming text, stylish illustrations and parents’ notes on phonics at the back of the book.

(17) Wilf Weasel’s Speedy Skates by Edward Holmes, illustrated by Horace Faithful [ISBN: 978-0723807162]

Requires a synopsis.

(18) World of the Weasel series (2 books) by Salvo Lavis and James Munn. Illustrated by Dave Leonard

A very charming ongoing series that we highly recommend. The World of the Weasel book series is good in terms of both educating children, and establishing a positive attitude towards weasels and wildlife.

Wolverine

(1) Buddy, the Wayward Wolverine by Amanda Shufelberger and Mary A. Livingston [ISBN: 978-0984775668]

Buddy, California’s only documented wolverine, is from the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho. This is a tale of Buddy’s imagined journey from Idaho to California. Told by Buddy expert and wildlife biologist, Amanda Shufelberger.

(2) Send Me a Box of Wolverines by Suzanne Stutzman [ISBN: 9780986251900]

This book introduces you to the habits, diet, character, and attitude of this little-known creature and makes a case for its re-introduction into the wilds of Colorado.

Contains Multiple Mustelids

(1) Scamperfoot the Pine Marten by Elleston Trevor

This is a story about a pine marten named Scamperfoot, and his best friend Ripple-Swim the otter. Our intrepid hero spends much of his time escaping from being shot by a farmer, tormented by crows and chased by a cat. Then he is inspired by Ripple-Swim to try to steal some fish from a fishing boat. This results in Scamperfoot being trussed up in a sack by the angry fisherman. He pretends to be dead, and the curiosity of the captor is aroused. Opening the sack gives Scamperfoot his chance for freedom and he makes a dramatic escape.



Children’s Literature | Young Adult Literature | Educational & Nonfiction

Mustelids in Media