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. Unlike in animation however, mustelids were often given more diverse personality traits.

Rather than list content with 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; to make your read of these creative works potentially more worthwhile. 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

Badgers

(1) 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.

(2) 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.

(3) 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.

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

Requires a synopsis.

(5) 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) 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.

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

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

(3) 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.

(4) 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.

Martens

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

Requires a synopsis.

(2) Scamperfoot the Pine Marten by Elleston Trevor

It is a story about a pine marten 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.

(3) 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.”

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

Minks

(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: 978-0995279537]

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.

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) 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.

Stoats & 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 (The Mother Cat Who Fled From The Shieling)
and Kattemor Hjemme Igjen (Home Again) by Synnøve Gill Dahl.

Both books are actually apart of a single story. This is a Norwegian-only story 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 for summer. The decision is made by the determined titular ‘’mother’’ cat. She’s not happy there, despite given all the comforts a cat should need. 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’’ her back with a mouse and a rat, and another mouse and a rat for having to save a foolish 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.

Other than the main content, the book deals with growth (in relation to the kittens, who are the true stars in this tale) and even a case of animal abuse. It’s told in a way that offers kids and adults 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 adorable at the same time, reminiscent of a cartoon filled with inventive antics, action and charming characters. The language is pure, the plot builds up and moves straight forward until the end; and about every event stems from reality, yet includes a touch of humanization.

(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.

Wolverines

(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.


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