HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: It’s a Dog’s Life: Hank the Cowdog, Book 3
Author: John R. Erickson
Illustrator: Gerald L. Holmes
Publisher: Maverick Books, reprinted in 2011
Language level: 2
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 8-12
Rating: **** 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Erickson, John R. It’s a Dog’s Life: Hank the Cowdog, Book 3 (published in 1984 by Maverick Books, an imprint of Gulf Publishing Company, P. O. Box 2608, Houston, TX 77252). Hank the Cowdog is head of security on the M-Cross Ranch owned by High Loper and Sally May in the Texas panhandle’s Ochiltree County. His younger assistant named Drover has heard from Pete the Barncat that the world is coming to an end because he saw Sally May writing on the calendar for the next day, “End of the world, 3:00 p.m.,” and then driving off. While investigating, Hank makes such a mess in the house that he decides that it’s time for a visit to his sister Maggie and her family in town, but while there he has a mysterious case of “soap hydrophobia” and ends up on death row in the dog pound. Will he ever make it back to the ranch? Will he even make it out of the pound alive? And will the world end?
Other than being literally filled with common euphemisms (heck, gosh, golly, etc.) and all kinds of similar colloquialisms (e.g., derned, dadgum, holy cow, by George), along with a couple of references to coyotes who are drunk and one of buying chewing tobacco, there is nothing really objectionable in this book and the other “Hank the Cowdog” stories. There are some 65 books in the series, beginning with The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog (1983), previously reviewed on this weblog, down to the most recent one, The Almost Last Roundup (2015). Personally, I am not sure if I could manage to read very many of these, but they will likely appeal to middle grade students or accelerated early readers, especially those who enjoy things that are silly. They would also be good for reluctant readers.