Review: Hank the Cowdog by John R Erickson






Title: Hank the Cowdog (#1)
Author: John R. Erickson 
Pub Deets (for the version I read): 1998, Puffin Books
Source: The library!



Amazon | Goodreads | Website | Hank's Twitter



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?

Lisa is a gamer, crafter, fangirl, mother, wife and unabashed nerd who is pretty ridiculous and it's best you know that up front. When she's not binge watching Netflix or crafting into the wee hours of the night, you can find her spending a lot of her time on Pinterest and Twitter.

17 comments:

  1. I think I need to show this one to the kiddo. He is all about the silly. Plus he needs something to fill the void while he waits for the next Captain Underpants book. Thanks Lisa!

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  2. Totally remember reading this in elementary school! What a great memory to bring back :)

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  3. I read these all the time around the 2nd/3rd grade. I think I inhaled the entire series, and I'd almost forgotten all about them. I remember my dad would sometimes read these with me, or we'd get the audiobooks and listen together, which was quite an accomplishment since my dad is not a reader.

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    1. That's a really fun memory - especially if your dad wasn't a reader!

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  4. This sounds adorable! I've never read this series, but I bet if I'd seen it, I totally would have. I love that it's got a dog as the main character!

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    1. It definitely gave me some flashbacks to 4th grade!

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  5. OMG Lisa, I'm SO EXCITED that you decided to talk about the sheer awesomeness that is Hank the Cowdog. I totally ate these up in elementary school too, my aunt even has a dog named Hank because of these books. Glad they're still fun as an adult!

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  6. Oh my goodness, this is taking me back! I remember the author visiting my elementary school with Louis Sachar and thinking it was the single greatest day of my life.

    Now I know it was just the beginning of hundreds of "greatest day ever"s (usually brought about by an author encounter :D).

    Thank you for this trip down memory lane!

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    1. A visit from John R Erickson AND Louis Sachar would be pretty dang amazing - even now!

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  7. Oh my god. I need to buy Hank the Cowdog because I am into this sort of thing, being 12 years old on the inside.

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    1. Aaaaand this is reason #289 why we are friends.

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  8. Everyone and their brother read these for their AR books in elementary school. I read quite a few, but they were never really my favorite. It's weird to think about books from your childhood being read by other people :P

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  10. A couple of weeks ago our local librarian recommended the audio book version of Hank the Cowdog #12: The Case of the Fiddle-Playing Fox to us for a long roadtrip we had with our kindergarten-aged son. We loved it! I was disappointed I hadn't heard about these when I was a kid, but will definitely be playing catch-up now.

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