Book Review: The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog by John R. Erickson

Where do I start with my experience with this book and the series that follows it? Rewind about seventeen years to a tiny library in Sherwood, Oregon, which was my first library. I happened upon a book about a dog who protected a ranch and loved it. Now flash-forward to the present day, I have been trying to find this series for years. But I didn’t remember the name so it was difficult. And then a couple weeks ago I found it. This series! So figured I would reread the first book to see if I liked it like I did when I was seven.

Release: 1980

Synopsis: Hank the Cowdog is Head of Ranch security and he takes his job extremely seriously. However, when chickens begin to be murdered, he must use his head to solve the case without being dubbed the killer himself. Join in a fun adventure with Hank and his useless partner Drover.


This book is pretty much a Louis L’Amour western crossed with a noir mystery crossed with a book about talking animals. Its qualities really shine forth in the writing style. Imagine getting into a hardened ranch dog’s brain and you can kind of understand this story. As a kid, I watched so many old westerns that it is not surprise I enjoyed this book. As an adult, though, I found it incredibly amusing.

Hank is like a noir detective in a dog’s body. One scene he is investigating the crime scene and the next he’s on his belly happily being petted. It’s a quite ironic and hilarious contrast, and this book is filled with similar situations. All the animals talk and even have different dialects (like dogs speaking differently than coyotes).

This is an incredibly simplistic book, but what do you expect from a children’s novel? Children’s books are supposed to examine complex topics is simple ways so that developing minds can understand it, and this book does this very well. It examines surprisingly adult topics, from loyalty to death to bravery. On the surface, it’s a fun book, and one that was nice to reread after so many years, but deeper down it was surprisingly enjoyable even to me as an adult.

This review is a bit short, because how much can you really say about a children’s story?

Have you heard of this series? Ever read it? Also, what are your thoughts about personifying animals, like George Orwell did in Animal Farm? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments, follow my blog for more madness and, as always,

Best wishes in your life full of adventures,

Madame Writer

11 thoughts on “Book Review: The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog by John R. Erickson

  1. Reading this review makes me interested in this fun book!

    I read Animal Farm about one year ago. As far as I’m concerned, novels that feature personifying animals are quite fun. Choosing personifying animals as main characters is not only sarcastic but also indirect when it comes to reveal ridiculousness of the world and human being. It’s a humorous, fun and effective way to euphemistically express what the author want to say.

    Liked by 1 person

          1. I used to read several psychology books when I felt frustrated and anxious, and It really helped a lot. However, the effect didn’t last long. Maybe it’s more important to put theories into practice than just sit on my behind.

            Reading is a great habit, which makes you a profound thinker~ I’ve read several articles written by you and learned a lot from them. They really helps me with both my English and Reading!

            It’s pleasant to read your articles and talk with you. Thank you so much!(*°∀°)=3 I’ll keep on reading. More power to you!

            Liked by 1 person

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