Friday, November 20, 2009

Straight from the horse's mouth

You never know when you'll find a good recommendation at the library.  Today, for instance, the following note was left on a shelf:

The reader has a good point.  Hank the Cowdog is one of the funniest characters out there.

Erickson, John (1983). Hank the Cowdog. (series) (Grades 4-6)

Hank is a cowdog.  More importantly, Hank is the Head of Ranch Security--at least, he's the Head of Ranch Security if you ask him.  If you ask anyone else on the ranch, you'll get a very different answer.  Hank is always getting into trouble with the ranchers and the other animals, despite his best intentions.  He's not as smart or as good-looking as he thinks he is, but he makes up for it in determination.  When a mysterious adventure arises, he's the first to run into it.  For instance, he stands his ground in the face of a plane (a "silver monster bird" trying to steal a steer, according to Hank) and almost manages to catch it before it veers away.

Hank's gruff way of talking and hilarious misunderstandings make these books fun to read aloud or alone, and the series is extensive enough that you'll always have your pick of books.  Although the first book is a good place to start, there's no need to read the series in order.  Each book stands well on its own and doesn't need anything more than Hank's own introduction: "It's me again, Hank the Cowdog."

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