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Hank the Cowdog Chapter Books

Looking for a series of chapter books that includes a delightful mix of fun, mystery, and adventure? Get ready for a treat when you introduce your children to John R. Erickson’s Hank the Cowdog series.

Who Is Hank the Cowdog?

As you might have guessed, Hank is a cowdog who happens to be the “Head of Ranch Security”—a job he takes very seriously. Hank and his sidekick, Drover, get tangled up in all sorts of interesting situations as they work together to protect the ranch. But things don’t always work out the way Hank expects.

Follow along as Hank messes with a porcupine, humbles cats, and mixes with coyotes—all in the name of ranch security.

Take our free Hank the Cowdog checklist to your local library!

About the Author and Series

The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog book cover

John R. Erickson is a real Texan cowboy with a great sense of humor. He masterfully pulls pieces of real ranch life into the Hank the Cowdog series, which have sold nearly eight million copies over more than 30 years. With humor that both parents and kids will find irresistible, these books make fun read-alouds. Since new books are added to the series at the rate of about two books per year, Hank-loving kids will have plenty of reading material to keep them busy!

The publisher’s suggested age range for the Hank the Cowdog books is 8 to 12, and their vast appeal helps them engage even reluctant readers. There’s a lot of dialogue, so if you are working with a struggling reader, make sure he understands how to read dialogue before he begins the series. Some children may need to be explicitly taught how to anticipate who is speaking. To help prevent frustration on your child’s part, model reading several pages, and then have your child read aloud to you so you can check his understanding of how dialogue works. You might want to try buddy reading, a great tool for teaching this skill!

If your family enjoys audio books, the audio versions of the Hank the Cowdog series, read by the author himself, are wonderful. Erickson acts out each character’s part to perfection and makes you want to stick around for more.

About the Books

There are currently sixty-nine books in the Hank the Cowdog series. Here is a small sampling of them.

The Further Adventures of Hank the Cowdog book cover

In the first book, The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog, Hank sets out to solve the mystery of a murdered chicken, but the case isn’t as clear-cut as Hank initially expects. When Hank’s crime-solving antics place him in the spotlight of suspicion, he’s forced to leave the ranch and live among the coyotes. When Hank discovers that life as a coyote isn’t as glamorous as he imagined, he ultimately realizes that there’s no place like home.

Hank’s adventures continue in The Further Adventures of Hank the Cowdog, the second book in the series. A mysterious, beakless “silver monster bird” has been spotted near the ranch, and Hank is concerned about the danger. But then Hank develops a condition called “eye-crosserosis.” If Hank is going to be able to protect the ranch from the peril of the silver monster bird, he must seek the help of an owl.

In book three, It’s a Dog’s Life, Hank worries that the world is coming to an end, so he decides to spend some time away from the ranch. He sets out to visit his sister in town and to spend some time with her puppies. But, as usual for Hank, things don’t go as he expects, and before long Hank finds himself in the dog pound.

Hank the Cowdog Series at a Glance

It's a Dog's Life book cover

Author: John R. Erickson
Genre: children’s fiction, humor, mystery
Interests: animals, ranch life
Suggested age range: 8 to 12
Gender preference: boys and girls
In the series: 69 books, 120-130 pages each

Other Books in the Series

Currently, there are sixty-nine books in the series … way too many to list here! But you can explore the complete collection on the official Hank the Cowdog book list, or you can print out our library list below.

Hank the Cowdog Series Library Checklist

Hank the Cowdog library checklist download

Do your kids need extra encouragement to read?

Take our The Hank the Cowdog Series checklist to your local library and have your child check off books as he reads them.

Looking for more great chapter books? We’ve got you covered!

FREE Chapter Book Library Lists

All About Learning Press, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. All proceeds from our partnership with Amazon.com will be donated to local libraries.

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Joan

says:

Age level was mentioned. What about reading level? Is it commensurate to 3rd grade? Thanks

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Joan,
Hank the Cowdog’s reading level is listed as “3rd to 5th grade” by Scholastic and other websites. To me, that implies it is more of a 4th-grade reading level but some 3rd graders would find it appropriate too.

Melissa

says:

I’m reading these aloud to my 10-year-old boy. We read them in between his school-related books to give some comic relief and add a little more fun to our days! We’ve read 31 of them so far and we’re still enjoying them. I love the vocabulary and figures of speech Hank uses (usually incorrectly)! It gives us a chance to discuss vocabulary and commonly used sayings without it feeling like I’m teaching him anything!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Melissa,
I love the way you are using these in your teaching! I think our days could use some comic relief moments too. Great idea!

AMCL

says:

My brother, now 37 years old, read all the “Hank the Cowdog books when he was younger. He devoured them, lol! I think they might still be his favorite among many different books and authors he’s read. :)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Hank has been around for a while, but is still so relatable! 😊

Tara

says:

Always looking for new book ideas. Will be looking into these!

Heather

says:

Thanks! We’re always looking for new books for our boys.

Kristin

says:

Cute books. Thank you for sharing the “chapter books list” too.

Jennifer

says:

Thanks for pointing us to Hank the Cowdog! My 9 year old son is really enjoying this series.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jennifer,
Thank you for letting us know your son is enjoying Hank the Cowdog!

Cynthia McNeil

says:

Can’t wait to read this book to my grand!

Jill Hull

says:

I’m so excited to try out the Hank the Cowboy series. It really sounds like a fun series to read Thank you Jill Hull

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Jill. I hope you enjoy this series as much as we have!

Alicia Langstraat

says:

We love Hank the Cowdog! The audiobooks are our go-to for family road trips: they keep everyone from the preschooler to Daddy entertained!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Alicia,
Finding great books for road trips that satisfy the whole family is difficult. It’s one of the things that makes Hank so great!

whitney kroll

says:

After seeing this post I purchased one of the Hank the Cowdog books on audio and my kids love it! I will definitely be purchasing more!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for updating us that Hank the Cowdog was so well received at your house, Whitney!

Melissa

says:

My son is 13, and recently completed AAR Level 3. I’m looking for books for him to read on his own through the summer. Would Hank books be appropriate for his reading Level? Do you have any other suggestions?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Melissa,
Yes, Hank the Cowdog should be a good level for a student who recently finished AAR 3, although some students may find it a bit of a challenge. a Encyclopedia Brown would be another good option https://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/encyclopedia-brown/. The a A to Z Mysteries would be easy, but he may like that https://blog.allaboutlearningpress.com/a-to-z-mysteries-chapter-books/.

Diana

says:

My son loved these. I need to remember to get them out for my daughter!

Stephanie

says:

My kids love Hank the Cowdog!! They are a fun read aloud or for kids just getting into chapter books.

Bethani

says:

Thank you for the suggestion! We just finished a book series and were wondering what to do next. This looks awesome!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I hope you enjoy them as much as we have, Bethani!

Tami

says:

We’ve read a few and they were a hit.

Kimberly Holder

says:

I am interested in trying this program with my daughter and I hope I can find it at the NC homeschool convention!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Kimberly,
Unfortunately, we won’t be there. You might see if Rainbow Resource Center will be, as they carry our entire product line.

Another option, although I know it’s not the same as seeing things in person, is to check out our online samples. You can go to the product pages on our website to find links to samples of each product. Here is a couple to get you started:

All About Reading samples and scope and sequence links

All About Spelling samples and scope and sequence links

Also, we do have a 1-year, 100% satisfaction guarantee when you order from our website. If you decide to try one of our products and it just doesn’t work for you and your children, you are free to return the product (even used), for a refund of your purchase price.

Michelle

says:

These look really great, thank you for telling us about this series.

Kaitlin

says:

Thanks for the recommendation!

Annette

says:

I’m looking forward to checking some of these out at the library this summer!

Saph

says:

Will have to try a book to see if my girls will like this.

Kimber

says:

These look like fun reads!

Christine Nadolny

says:

Looking for these to see if my boys will like them.

Jessie Peckens

says:

These look really fun for my boys!

Trina Greene

says:

We are excited to read these!

Corrine H

says:

Thanks for this book suggestion. I was looking for something new for my 8 year old to read and she lives dogs. Hopefully this will be a good fit.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Corrine,
I hope your daughter enjoys Hank as much as my children have!

Julie S

says:

Which level would these be good for?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Julie,
The Hank the Cowdog books are great read alouds (that you read to your child or use a recorded audiobook) for ages 6 up to 12 or so. Although, I know many adults that would enjoy listening to Hank’s exploits! For the child to read the book himself, the Hank the Cowdog books are on 3rd to 4th-grade reading level, but as with listening to the story, students that read on a higher level will likely enjoy reading these as well.

Angie T

says:

Such a great series!

Rachel Dewey

says:

I enjoyed these as a child…. listening to them in the car while my grandpa drove us to his farm. Hank is hilarious!!!

Crystal

says:

We LOVE Hank the Cowboy! We were introduced to the series by a good friend who loaned us a couple of audio books for a road trip. We have since purchased several of the books and try to snatch them up whenever we see them on our favorite book-selling groups. The great thing to me is that all three of my son’s like them and they are 14, 11 and 5!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Crystal,
Thank you for letting us know that Hank is a hit with all of your son, even though they are such a wide age range. It’s hard to find books that teens and kindergartners like equally!

Crystal

says:

Haha, I have no idea why my phone autocorrected cowdog to cowboy! Lol

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