Review: Hank the Cowdog
Title: Hank the Cowdog (#1)
Author: John R. Erickson
Pub Deets (for the version I read): 1998, Puffin Books
Source: The library!
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In a sentence or so: Hank the Cowdog is trying to solve the mystery of who killed the hen when he decides he’s had ENOUGH of the ranch and their lack of respect for him and heads off to be an outlaw. Lols ensue.
There’s been a murder on the ranch. Thankfully, Hank the Cowdog is head of ranch security and is well trained in such things. He does a thorough search for tracks and evidence with his #2 Drover and they come up with nothin’. Drover isn’t really all that helpful for Hank, but he appreciates him nonetheless and tries to encourage him when he can.
So Hank’s trying to solve this mystery and then he maybe sorta accidentally puts himself into a compromising situation that leaves him shamed and dejected by his owners. He decides to quit the ranch and leave them all behind if THAT’S how they’re going to act. He turns outlaw and joins the coyotes. He knows he doesn’t really fit in with the coyotes what with their eating of rancid meat and their uncivilized violence and what not...but if he can’t solve the mystery of the murdered hen, where DOES he he fit in? What’s a cowdog to do?
I ADORED this series when I was in elementary school. Every time we had library time, I’d hunt out the next Hank the Cowdog and happily turn all the pages, devouring Hank’s wit and humor. I was a little worried about going back as an adult and reading a series written for elementary/younger MG. You guys, worrying was a waste of time.
Hank the Cowdog is completely age appropriate while still being silly and thoughtful and fun for all ages. Hank thinks he’s pretty hot biz, but you figure out pretty quickly that he’s not quite the detective and badass he thinks he is. Don’t worry - it only adds to his charm and sincerely funny interactions.
If you have kiddos who like reading adventure books that are a little bit silly, or if you yourself are into that kind of thing (like ME!), then give Hank the Cowdog a chance. If you like it, you have about 60 other books in the series!
Fave quote: “As a rule, I”m a pretty good sport. I was a kid once myself and I got into my share of mischief, but I can’t get used to people biting my tail. I mean, there’s something kind of special and private about a guy’s tail. If he’s got any pride at all, and he tries to keep it nice, and he’s a little fussy about scabs and bald spots and tooth marks and slobber and all that stuff.”
Pairs well with: A snuggly puppy. In my case, Albus.
Fix er up: I wonder like the mystery wasn’t really solved. But maybe it was supposed to feel that way?