TOS Review: Hank the Cowdog

Hank the Cowdog reporting for duty! This is a dog with attitude and ready for adventure.Familiar to many, a new adventure for our family. USA Today reports -"The best family entertainment in years." Our family did not agree with this statement, but many families do enjoy this series by John Erickson. We had the opportunity to review a book, audio CD, and board game from Maverick Books. Another book in the series was given to us a 'hand-me down" from another family. I'll touch on all these products tonight.

The "hand-me down" was Book One, "The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog." Hank declares "It's a tough job but somebody's got to do it." Hank is a ranch dog, and the self proclaimed "Head of Ranch Security". I love the concept. We thought the illustrations were fun. In this first adventure a murder has occurred and Hank finds himself not only investigating, but becoming the number one suspect! In despair he turns to the "dark side" and becomes an outlaw, finding himself challenged even more.
Will he stay an outlaw or rise above the challenge and save the ranch? My son enjoys stories along these lines so we were prepared to fall in love with this series as so many others have. As a read aloud, we only made it through a few chapters. The reason behind our choice I'll discuss later.

As a crew member, we received Book Eight, "The Case of the One-Eyed Killer Stud Horse." In this book, once again things are looking pretty bleak for Hank the Cowdog as accidents occur and poisoned bacon grease makes him sick. You are sure to get some giggles as you read about his forced "dress -up" play time with the girls!Illustrator Gerald Holmes does another wonderful job bringing the story to life. My books were priced at $4.99 a book.

Hank #8

There are now fifty-four titles in the series ,a card deck, games, Cd's, and more! This is truly an accomplished author and series. You will want to check out all the offerings at "The Hank the Cowdog's Official Site" and see what your family thinks. If you find yourself a fan you may want to join Hank's Security Force in which you'll receive many benefits.

We personally, did not finish either book as a read-aloud. Again, from the website and all I had heard, from the scans I did of the book, I thought we would love them.
However, the attitudes and some talk like "mindless" and "dummy" fell short of our expectations. Because some of our family has endured taunting by peers and elders with such hurtful words, emotions arose as I was reading aloud. Our family usually finishes books and then discusses what we liked and did not like. We discuss why we have our opinions. While we have dealt with the issues that have arisen from the past, we were turned off with the dialogue in the books. Many families probably just see the dialogue as all in good fun, and it could be a way to discuss behaviors and attitudes. Hank does mention that when a young boy calls his Mommy, dummy, "that was a big mistake"! You'll have to just determine what is best for your family. We personally, choose not to use such words even in "fun".

As I said earlier, we did also have the chance to look over other products. We listened to the CD while on a long road trip. The CD is titled, "Tales and Tunes from Hank the Cowdog." This CD contains story excerpts from ten books plus nine original songs. Total running time is sixty-eight minutes. The cost is $12.99.
Former cowboy and current rancher ,author John R. Erickson, performs these stories like an old-time radio show with sound effects and unique voices for each character.
We enjoy old-time radio shows and appreciated this fun approach. There were a few laughs and giggles with this one. In the nine songs, you will hear instruments like the banjo, fiddle, marimba, synthesizers, and guitar. Dogs, buzzards, and coyotes talk and sing on this CD. Drover, who Hank called worthless in Book One, shares two fun songs packed with great advice! The music style is not us. I think younger children would probably have enjoyed this CD more. Let me direct you to the Homeschool Crew site where you can read reviews on these products from a variety of families and cultures. ( Link is in my sidebar )

Lastly, we can give a thumbs-up to the game, "TORNADO"! We had such fun playing it. We adore board games! We also took it on a road trip. This game is great for taking on road trips, running errands, appointments and such on the go. The game is a race to get three characters to home before your opponents, but watch out as they may send you back to start! Landing on a Tornado place can send you any direction. You want to get safety! Let me tell you, this game is not over until its over and it is doubtful to be the same twice! This game comes with a free 30 Minute Cassette from the award winning audio , " The Case of the Swirling Killer Tornado. The cost for the game is $12.99.

Tornado game