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