Book Review of “Hank the Cowdog” (#21)
Hank the Cowdog: The Case of the Vampire Cat (#21 in the Series)
John R. Erickson
Penguin Group (USA)
Age Range: 8 to 11
Hank the Cowdog is a brainchild of John Erickson, a former cowboy. Having lived the life on the ranch, Erickson succeeds in giving Hank just the right “voice” and rough and tough exterior but heart of gold.
Getting the Hank series off the ground was a dedicated labor of love — complete with borrowed money, the back of a pickup truck and the proverbial leap of faith. Blood and sweat have paid off, and librarians assert that the Hank section in local libraries draws the most readers. Easy to read and enjoy chapter books, Hank is appropriate for kids aged eight to 11.
“The Case of the Vampire Cat” pits Hank the Cowdog (head of Ranch Security) against Mary D. Cat. Sure, when he gets accidentally separated from his human companion, he has to join forces with the pesky feline against a couple of hungry coyotes, but isn’t Mary really a vampire?
There is plenty of humor in this Hank adventure. Canine one-liners never get old and moms or dads who may read the book aloud to younger children have the opportunity to practice their best Texas drawls while impersonating the various voices.
Consider the entire Hank series when dealing with a reluctant reader. The stories are so silly that kids will prod on, even if they get frustrated. Since the books are also available on tapes and CDs, they can be read along to the spoken word, which makes them a superior study aid.