Whether a piece of fiction is considered children’s literature or young adult literature is ultimately subjective and dependent on local culture. So to help make categorising books easier for us, on this site we simply define young adult literature as those containing romance, violence, slayings, or other subjects that are likely to be appreciated by ages 14 and up.
Rather than list literature that has a minor mustelid character appearing in just one or two pages, below are fictional novels and comics that have at least one mustelid a part of the main story. Several of the books listed are rare gems that are out-of-print, but some can be found used at your local book store or online.
British common names for species
There a serval pieces of literature below written by British authors. Whenever they refer to a character’s species simply as a “weasel”, they are almost exclusively referring to Britain’s native least weasel, especially when using the phrase “stoats and weasels”. Likewise, if a species is simply labelled a “badger”, “otter“, “pine marten”, or “polecat”, they are most likely referring to the Eurasian badger, Eurasian otter, European pine marten, and European polecat.
(1) Badger Island by Jonathan Guy [ISBN: 9780099189510]
Author’s synopsis: Krag has led the Hopwas Wood badger sett for many years but this spring brings new difficulties for the wise old badger. First, Baal, a younger and fiercer badger challenges his leadership of the colony and then Jenkins, the trusted local gamekeeper is replaced by cruel and dangerous Reuben who is determined to trap the badgers – at a nice price for himself. It’s up to Krag to lead his sett to safety, and to protect himself and his family from this hostile opposition. But he’s too old and tired, and weary of the fight. Will this year be just too much for him?
(2) The Badgers of Summercombe by Ewan Clarkson [ISBN: 9780876902301]
Borun is a male badger who contends with local farmers trying to get rid of them. When a fox takes over Borun’s old den, he’s forced to travel far from Summercombe to find a new home; having many adventures along the way.
(3) The Cold Moons by Aeron Clement [ISBN: 9780385296946]
Life is ideal for the badgers in their golden valley until the day the alarm is sounded: their homeland is doomed, for man is coming. Against all odds they set out on a quest for a new home. But who will they turn to for leadership? Forces within the group threaten to destroy them before the journey even begins.
(4) The Grandville comic series (5 volumes) by Bryan Talbot
This series is a mixture of the steampunk, alternative history and thriller genres. It is set in a world in which France won the Napoleonic Wars and invaded Britain, and in which the world is populated mostly by anthropomorphic animals. The main character is Detective Inspector Archibald “Archie” LeBrock of Scotland Yard – a British anthropomorphic badger.
(5) Incident at Hawk’s Hill by Allan W. Eckert [ISBN: 9780316209489]
This is a story about a six-year-old boy who gets lost on the Canadian prairie, and survives for two months thanks to a mother badger.
(6) Melanie the Badger by Fred L. Tate [ISBN: 9781683147558]
Survival, happiness, and justice in the wild–through the eyes of a loving predator
Melanie the badger is fierce, loving, independent, proud, and deeply protective of her young. As she roams the seasons of her life, she lives out a story of justice and survival. She loses young and survives, she loves and loses her lovers. No matter what happens to Melanie, she continues onward, survives, and never gives up hope.
(1) The Blood Jaguar by Michael H. Payne [ISBN: 9780812566758]
Legend speaks of a time when The Blood Jaguar, bringer of death, comes to claim the lives of millions in one sweep of her fiery claws. It is said that a solitary champion will arise to stand against her, willing to lay down his life to preserve the lives of others. This brave, selfless individual will be a bobcat. Unfortunately, the bobcat who finds himself unwillingly entangled in the matter is none of the above. All he wants from life is a leisurely day of doing anything he pleases, a roll of good catnip in the evening, and plenty of time to sleep if off before starting all over again. His preferred solution to being saddled with terrifying visions of death incarnate is to increase the quantity of the last two and hope to forget all about it. Driven to action by Fisher, the local shaman, and Skink, a lizard intellectual, Bobcat must face mythical forces he’s never believed in and accept a destiny he’s convinced is a mistake, all to save a world he’s certain thinks less of him than he does of himself. After all, he’s failed at everything in life so far: how could this possibly turn out different? — Back cover.
(2) Winter of the Fisher by Cameron Langford [ISBN: 9780393086324]
A fisher survives his first year in the wilderness through the help of a kind Ojibway. The story is told without names or dialogue among the animal characters.
(1) Martin Marten by Brian Doyle [ISBN: 9780871563873]
A fourteen year old boy named Dave, and an American marten named Martin, set off on their own adventures. Their lives, paths, and trails will cross, weave, and blend.
(1) Break for Freedom (published as Syla, the Mink in the US) by Ewan Clarkson [ISBN: 9780140304954]
Story of Syla a young female mink who escapes from a mink farm in England.
(2) Greyhood: The Year of the Mink by Olly MacGilloway [ISBN: 9780856404023]
An outstandingly original wildlife novel based on first-hand observation of river life. Greyhood, a wild American mink, lives like his ancestors on the banks of a river. From the moment of his birth, when a badger devours his siblings, Greyhood exists on the edge of danger. Learning the skills of survival in a world full of enemies, he grows in curiosity, strength, and independence, emerging as a courageous and formidable predator.
(3) Mink by Robyn Rolison-Hanna [ISBN: 9780981747231]
“So many eyes in the dark. Eyes that change from moment to moment. Closed eyes that can’t see anymore. Frightened eyes that don’t scream anymore. Half-closed eyes that don’t care anymore. Angry eyes that can’t fight anymore. In their enclosures, they wait quietly. Parents clutch their children. Males clutch their females. Some have no one left to clutch, so they clutch the wire mesh that imprisons them. They know where they are. They know what happens here.”
Count Zeto Pantaleone Ulderico is a pampered and coddled mink noble, whose spoiled and privilege life comes to a screeching halt when he and his cousin, Muccino, are trapped and taken by Guiseppe Tucci to his mink farm. Plagued with night blindness and no ability to track or scent, Zeto can no longer depend on his name or position. With the aid of the beautiful mink named Ardrianna and a cast of fellow cellmates, they attempt an escape in hopes of obtaining freedom before they become articles of fashion in Milan’s haute couture.
Set in Italy’s Apennine Mountains, Mink, is a stirring tale of adventure, courage and the quest for survival. It follows this very special mink on his journey through harrowing trials posed by adversaries and predators. It is about pathways and bridges that must be crossed against incredible odds.
(4) Mink! by Peter Chippindale, translated by Bob Snoijin [ISBN: 9780671854201]
A group of escaped minks disrupts the established order in the ecosystem.
(5) Vison, the Mink (American Woodland Tales) by Jean Craighead George (Author, Illustrator), John George (Author) [ISBN: 9781453223499]
Vison the mink, the bully of his litter, strikes out on his own after the sudden death of his mother.
(6) The Silver Mink by Ivan T. Sanderson
A story about a young female mink.
(1) A Tangle of Otters by Ian Saint-Barbe Anderson, illustrated by Gabrielle Bordewich [ISBN: 9780718826161]
Ian Anderson tells the story of a year in the life of a family of otters.
(2) Beever & Company by J.A. Davis
This is a non-fiction book that describes the author living with a series of animals, including an African clawless otter and spotted-necked otter.
(3) Nightpool by Shirley Rousseau Murphy [ISBN: 9780694056057]
Injured in battle with the Dark Raiders, sixteen-year-old Tebriel is healed by a colony of talking otters and sets out to fight the Dark and its forces of evil in the world of Tirror.
This book is the first book within the Dragonbards trilogy. It appears Book 2: “The Ivory Lyre” and Book3: “The Dragonbards” don’t mention mustelids in their description.
(4) Otter No.11 manga/anime series by Hiramaru Kazuya
Otters 11 is about about otter people trying to change the world. The otters have human bodies and otter faces, and when they are fighting their hands turn to rock. The main character is an otter man trying to change the world.
(5) The Otters in Space series (3 books) by Mary E Lowd, illustrated by Doc Marcus
Humans have left the Earth, and dogs rule. Kipper is an oppressed tabby cat who dreams of a better place where cats are free to run their own lives. When Kipper discovers a secret that might lead her to such a paradise, along with the secret comes trouble— first, Kipper’s sister disappears, and, then, she’s attacked by a dog goon herself. Kipper’s escape takes her on a mad dash to Ecuador and the space elevator, where she catches a ride up to the otter-designed space station. Once in “otter space,” Kipper must navigate an uncomfortably watery world to find out what happened to her sister and whether there really is a cat paradise.
(6) The Rappy The River Otter comic by an unknown creator(s)
A weekly comic strip starring Rappy the river otter.
(7) Samaki: The Story of an Otter in Africa by J.A. Davis [ISBN: 9780722128497]
The novel is about Samaki, a wild spotted-necked otter, from his birth through to his adulthood and holding of his own territory, with cubs of his own. All significant characters are named, but there is no dialogue.
(8) Shaman by Sandra Miesel [ISBN: 9780671698447]
A non-conformist in an oppressive world, Ria LaGarde becomes the conduit for two unconventional shamans from a parallel world, an experience that threatens her sanity while developing her own latent shamanistic powers.
(9) The Spellsinger series (8 books) by Alan Dean Foster
Spellsinger is a series of fantasy novels. The story initially deals with the characters of Jonathan Thomas Meriweather, referred to by the locals as Jon-Tom, when he is unwillingly pulled into a fantasy world by the turtle wizard Clothahump. Having been, at the moment of his transportation, high on cannabis, Jon-Tom initially thinks it is all a dream brought on by the drugs. He soon finds out differently: he is in an unfamiliar world with little prospect of returning home anytime soon.
The world of Spellsinger is largely inhabited by animals that are similar to those found on Earth, but are anthropomorphic: generally bipedal, they are intelligent, able to wear clothing and handle tools, generally closer to human-sized than their Earth counterparts, and are capable of speech. Humans are far from being the dominant species and are equal to others.
Mudge is an otter who appears throughout the series. He’s a womanizer, a thief, an alcoholic and a gambler. Otters are not known to take life seriously in the Spellsinger world, but Mudge takes this to the extreme.
(10) Stories From Elton High by Alflor Aalto [ISBN: 9781624750052]
Arden the otter is a good kid. He keeps his head down in school and gets good grades. Thus far, he’s done a fairly decent job of staying afloat in the hectic sea of life… until a letter comes from school informing him of a new physical education requirement: “Every student, regardless of species, must run a mile in under nine minutes. Failure to do so will result in remediate gym time.” Arden shrugs, throws on a ratty shirt and heads out to the school track to see if he can even run a mile, let alone do it in under nine minutes…
(11) Travelling Otter by Ian Saint-Barbe Anderson [ISBN: 9780718826222]
A sequel to A Tangle of Otters. This is a story about a young otter’s fight for survival, as he begins the tough journey to adulthood; finding a new home and a mate.
(12) Waterways by Kyell Gold [ISBN: 9780979149658]
Kory was having enough trouble in high school. His girlfriend just dumped him, his poetry made him a target for ridicule, and college applications were looming. The very last thing he needed was to fall in love with another boy.Waterways is the complete novel from award-winning author Kyell Gold that includes his beloved story “Aquifers”. Join Kory as his feelings and faith collide, washing away the life he knew. His brother Nick, friends Samaki and Malaya, and Father Joe are there to help, but it’s Kory who has to navigate the thrills and perils of the new waterways that make up his life. At stake? Nothing much — just a chance at true love and happiness. And he still has to graduate from high school…
(1) Ferret Girl by Colin Haskin [ISBN: 9780986919909]
At 14, Fiona has had enough of her parents’ problems and longs to escape and be with Bandit, her pet ferret. The trouble is she must shrink to his size. Then it’s a succession of wild adventures until the terrifying realization she is trapped in another dimension.
(2) Mr Allbones’ Ferrets by Fiona Farrell [ISBN: 9781869418649]
A young man out poaching. A beautiful maiden in a mysterious house. A perilous voyage to distant islands. All the ingredients of a highly coloured Victorian romance are played out in the context of the great colonial experiment.
Exotic species travelled back to stock the collections of Europe while useful species were dispatched to found new colonies in the antipodes. Walter Allbones really existed. So did his ferrets. From these facts, Fiona Farrell has spun a delicate, satirical fantasy about human folly and the perils attendant on disturbing the subtle balance of nature.
(3) Peach Fuzz comic (3 volumes) by Lindsay Cibos and Jared Hodges
Peach Fuzz is about a 9-year old named Amanda Keller who buys a sassy ferret named Peach. The thrust of the story is that Peach believes that she’s royalty and isn’t impressed about being taken away from her subjects at the pet store. Life in the little girl’s home is soon turned upside down by Her Ferret Highness Peach!
(4) Phantom of the Prairie: Year of the Black-Footed Ferret by Jonathan London [ISBN: 9780871563873]
A mother ferret bears four kits and tends to them carefully for weeks as they grow, but one night, Phantom, the most determined of the litter, begins to lead his kin outside the dark burrow, not knowing the dangers that await.
(5) Pyne by Jonathan Guy [ISBN: 9780099408215]
Pyne, a European polecat, and his mate Cass are driven from their native home in Wales, settling in unfamiliar woods and fields frequented by unknown wild animals, and the greater threat of humans.
(6) The Tower: Night of the Waterbornes by Sarah Halswell [ISBN: 9780955026423]
A druid and his son know England is somehow under threat and find the most unlikely hero in the White Tower at the Tower of London – a European polecat called Cedric, locked into a dark secret reaching back to when the Tower was built. A vile enemy manifests itself in the shape of vicious water nymphs from Greek mythology, bent on swamping England until no land exists in order to fulfill their own foul destiny. With the reward of the famous English Crown Jewels, a historian aids the evil water nymphs who embark on a sustained attack on the Tower and who leverage the famous raven legend to achieve their goal. Forced to embark on a series of terrifying mythically-themed battles with some unlikely contributors, the little European polecat calls upon his friends, heraldic charges, the ravens and the ghosts of the Tower to try to save England from disappearing underwater forever.
(7) The Seventh Chakra by Kevin Frane [ISBN: 9780981988351]
Arkady Ryswife is a devout member of the Iolite League, a religious society dedicated to building the better world of the future. Behind the scenes, however, he is an elite soldier, a member of a covert wing of the League that ensures its ends are met where peaceful means do not suffice. These operatives have a mission to recover crucial fragments of the world’s lost, fractured history. Arkady’s team is not the only one willing to kill for these relics – just the best. At least, until a fatal mistake leaves the team in shambles on the eve of what may be the most important mission of their lives. Forced back into the field without delay, Arkady and his companion must recover a piece of data that the League has been seeking for years. Still reeling from their loss, they must go behind enemy lines, outsiders in a notoriously xenophobic nation. Isolated and suspicious of betrayal at every turn, they plunge into the web of one of the world’s most astonishing mysteries, a journey from which none of them will return unscathed. — Back cover.
(8) Sredni Vashtar by Hector Hugh Munro
The story concerns a sickly ten-year-old boy named Conradin, who lives with his strict cousin and guardian, Mrs. De Ropp. Conradin rebels against her and invents a new religion, idolizing a vengeful, merciless god polecat–ferret he names Sredni Vashtar. Conradin keeps the ferret hidden in a cage in the garden shed, and worships it in secret. The story comes to a climax when his cousin discovers his god.
(1) The Blacksad comic album series (5 albums) by Juan Díaz Canales, and artist Juanjo Guarnido
Although he is not the protagonist or antagonist of the series, Weekly the least-weasel is the occasional sidekick of the protagonist private investigator John Blacksad. Weekly isn’t known for minding his personal hygiene, but often has a positive attitude, and helps John throughout the series.
(2) The Builders by Daniel Polansky [ISBN: 9780765385307]
Years go by, and scars fade, but memories only fester. For the animals of the stoat Captain’s company, survival has meant keeping a low profile, building a new life, and trying to forget the war they lost. But now the Captain’s whiskers are twitching at the idea of evening the score. – Amazon source.
(3) Crow and Weasel by Barry Lopez [ISBN: 9780374416133]
If you’re a fan of Native American culture, tales of adventure and wisdom, as well as character development, this book will surely be of interest. From what we gather, the characters are indeed anthropomorphic, yet are written as if they were mere man. Here are a few illustrations by artist Tom Pohrt.
(4) Each Day a Small Victory by Chips Hardy, illustrated by Oscar Grillo [ISBN: 9781904104032]
Max has made a name for himself as a rabid psychopath who has used random acts of violence to instigate a campaign of terror. He feels his blood-thirsty reputation is undeserved and wants to set the record straight. A quirky tale filled with black humor, this is the story of a stoat and his struggles with injustice.
(5) The Legend of Tadlers Warren by Cornelius Rainsford [ISBN: 9781908105813]
Tipwhit is a stoat who finds life easy. And despite many warnings, he nevertheless spends much of his time playing childish games with his nephew Snodder. Than a shocking discovery one morning drives him headlong into a series of terrifying events that take him to the brink of madness. Soon he is beset by treachery, the loss of those closest to him, murderous stoats, mythical monsters and the wrath of an angry god. Now he has to fight as no stoat has ever fought before, but has his previous lifestyle denied him any chance for survival.
(6) Makha, a History of the Life of a Little Weasel by Tatiana Varfolomeeva / Kamil Ziganshin [ISBN: 9781514482988]
The taiga forests of eastern Siberia are the largest tract of unbroken forest in the world and cover more than a quarter of Russia’s territory. Much of the region is contained within the watershed of two enormous river systems, the Yenisey and Lena. This story tells of how a little weasel, Makha, survives the cold and harsh environment to later become a full-fledged adult.
(7) The Stoat Rebellion by Aubrey Fossedale [ISBN: 9781446778449]
The English woodland is now run on a democratic system which was fought for during the Stoat Rebellion. The rebellion, fought between the Woodland Central Government Army and the Stoat Rebel Army involved many battles, stalemates and political meetings that had effect on the way the woodland was run, both then and now. – Main site source.
(1) Carcajou, the Wolverine by Rutherford George Montgomery [ISBN: 9780870044038]
Through the pages of this book stalks the mightiest of the wilderness villains, a freebooter and a bully, a bandit who knows nothing of fear. Kin to the weasel, Carcajou the wolverine has the weasel’s strength and cunning one hundred times multiplied. Rutherford Montgomery tells what happens when Carcajou, the unconquerable, tangles with a young Indian trapper and his pet grizzly bear.
(2) Three Wolverines of Rushing Valley by Edor Burman
This is a story of the life of a young wolverine and his parents, who live in northern Sweden. Once men who share the same territory discover their presence, they begin launching an attack on the wolverines.
Contains Multiple Mustelids
(1) The Animals of Farthing Wood book series (8 books) by Colin Dann
The books tell the story of a group of woodland animals whose home has been paved over by developers. They learn of a nature reserve, White Deer Park, where they will be safe, and undertake to make the journey together. They form an Oath, promising to protect one another and overcome their natural instincts until they reach their destination.
(2) His Dark Materials (3 books) by Philip Pullman
This is a trilogy consisting of Northern Lights (1995, published as The Golden Compass in North America), The Subtle Knife (1997), and The Amber Spyglass (2000). In these books Pantalaimon is a dæmon, and is the companion of the heroine Lyra Belacqua. He changes into many forms, including a ferret and European pine marten, but among his favourite is a stoat that’s always in ermine. His personality is portrayed as a cautious and level-headed counterpoint to Lyra’s impulsive, inquisitive, and sometimes reckless character.
(3) The Housepets! webcomic by cartoonist Rick Griffin
This comic revolves around the lives of the various pets living in Babylon Gardens. Most strips are about depicting pets dealing with common problems such as coping with boredom, visiting the vet, and interacting with other pets in the neighborhood. There are several main characters that are mustelids, such as The Milton Ferrets: (Keene, Lana, Duke, Pit, Rock, and Simon), and a few minor characters such as Breel the pine marten (it is unclear if he’s an American marten or European pine marten), and a badger named Herman, who appears to be an American badger.
(4) Hunters of Longtree: A Cotswold Tale by David Walker [ISBN: 9780954036607]
Written in the great and much loved tradition of Gilbert White, W.H. Hudson and Henry Williamson, Hunters of Longtree can best be described as a real-life drama of survival in the natural world. It is centred on the lives of predators such as weasels, foxes, badgers and otters, bats and birds of prey, and is set in the South Cotswolds at the start of the 1950’s, against a landscape as yet untouched by the ecological consequences of myxomytosis in the rabbit population.
(5) The Kine Saga (3 books) by Alan Richard Lloyd
This series chronicles the life of a wild least weasel named Kine. American mink are considered the antagonists of the series; including a European polecat and ferret.
(6) The Mouse Guard comic book series (12 books) written and illustrated by David Petersen
Mouse Guard is set in a world of sentient mice who live in a medieval era, paralleling the same age in human history, though in their world there are no humans. Its stories revolve around a brotherhood of mice known as the “Mouse Guard” who have sworn an oath to serve their fellow civilian mice in times of need, including making safe passage for them through the wilderness and protecting them from predators.
In this series weasels, ferrets, martens, fishers, minks and otters possess language, culture and technology. Save for the otters, mustelids are antagonists of the mice. Not so much as randomly as in the Redwall series, but mostly in regard to their natural diet of mice. Some species of mustelid even make it a moral value to only kill for meat. Otters eat fish in the series, so this is why they are not considered antagonists of the mice. Mustelids appear in Legends of the Guard – Volume 2, Weasel War of 1149, and Black Axe. Mr. Petersen’s illustrations of these mustelids are also quite well done.
(7) Okojo-san manga series (8 volumes) by Ayumi Uno
Okojo-san the stoat lives at an exotic pet store run by a greedy manager until one day he escapes. In the chaos following, he ends up unconscious in a garbage can, where college student Haruka Tsuchiya finds him. Mistaking him for a ferret, Tsuchiya takes Okojo home with him. Okojo struggles to adapt to life with humans and other animals, and all the other things that come with human society.
(8) Oren’s Forge comic by Teagan Gavet [ISBN: 9782889330508 (French edition)]
Rumors have spread about refuge safe from flesh-eating beasts. This is an online comic about two pine martens (presumably the European species) named Rask and Quanaq, and their journey through the dangerous forest to seek this place of safety.
This comic brings to light the realities of nature, and how prey and predator must coexist. Teagan is an amazing artist, and their semi-anthropomorphic pine marten and badger (presumably the Eurasian species) characters are some of the most accurately depicted you’ll find in fiction.
(9) The Redwall series (22 books and 2 picture books) by Brian Jacques
Redwall is a world that involve animals set in a medieval-esque time period. The central building in the novels is Redwall Abbey—a commune for peaceful creatures who are often found defending themselves from villains who wish to destroy their way of life. The Redwall series has many merits, and even helped inspire some of our members to become interested in mustelids. However, because the villains are inherently based on species and are given little to no redeeming qualities, we must warn the books are not for every mustelid fan.
Numerous mustelids appear in the books, with several species being native to Brian Jacques’ homeland of Britain. Given the author’s nationality, as well as some of the book’s illustrations, most of the mustelid species can easily be identified.
Good beasts / woodlanders: Eurasian badgers, otters (presumably Eurasian otters), and sea otters (not native to Britain, but unsure if literally sea otters or just figuratively speaking).
Bad beasts / vermin: Eurasian stoats, European pine martens, wolverines, sables (the latter two species also not native to Britain), and least weasels (simply referred to as “weasels” by the author). These species are almost exclusively “vermin” by default and portrayed as evil villains. Ferrets are also evil in the series, though we find this choice of species interesting, since unlike the others, a ferret is a domesticated animal. Perhaps they were meant to represent European polecats?
(10) The Star Current series (2 books) by Michael Andrew McDonald
This is an ongoing series taking place in a world where anthropomorphic creatures embark on a voyage to new worlds.
(11) The Welkin Weasels series (6 books) by Garry Kilworth
After the humans mysteriously disappeared from the isle of Welkin, both wild, and once domesticated animals made their way into the abandoned castles and villages; using what the humans had left behind. The mustelids in particular however, adapted to a more civilised way of living. The European stoats were the most ambitious and aggressive of them and took over the island. Most least weasels (simply referred to as “weasels” by the author) became serfs, while ferrets were enlisted in the royal army of the childish and spoiled ruler of all Welkin, Prince Poynt.
(12) The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame [ISBN: 9780689713101]
A timeless story of Rat, Mole, Badger, and the irrepressible Toad of Toad Hall. This novel is perhaps the most well known of the list, and has had many illustrated, comic, and annotated versions published since 1908.