You must do the things you think you cannot do.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

TOS Review Hank the Cowdog

It's me again, Hank the Cowdog, Head of Ranch Security. I was thrilled to pieces when I learned we were going to get to review Hank the Cowdog. We have our own Hank; he's not quite a cowdog, but I am very hopeful that this book series will build in him a love for reading. The stories are written by John Erickson a former cowboy and ranch manager, and they are hilarious.

They offer a number of products based on the main character and his friends, and you can mosey down to Hank's General Store to buy one of his 54 books with amusing titles such as "The Case of the Laundry Monster Files" and "The Curse of the Incredible Priceless Corncob." The paperbacks range in price from $4.24 to $5.24 and hardbacks from $12.49 to $13.49.

We received "The Case of the One-eyed Killer Stud Horse," "Hank's Tales and Tunes" Cd and the Tornado board game. We began by playing Tornado. What a fun game! Even I got in on the action. It's kind of like Sorry! or Trouble. Each player has three peg figures, Hank, Drover and a buzzard, and you spin a tornado spinner to get onto the playing board and then move around the board to safety. If someone lands on one of your guys, you get sent back to the start. As written, the rules are a little confusing so I just changed them to suit my kids, and they had a great time.

What I love about this game is that it folds in half and the pieces store inside it. Happy! Happy! This retails for $12.99 and says it's for ages 5+, but my three year old was able to play and enjoy it with only minimal help.

Then we popped in the "Hank's Tales and Tunes" CD. Note that they also offer story collections on CD which is two CD's with 2 audio books on them, and they are $28.99 for the set.

But if you want just a sampling of story excerpts and funny songs, you can buy Hank's Tales and Tunes. It's a bargain at only $3.00, and some of the song titles are a hoot! "It's not smart to show your hiney to a bear." Wise words if you ask me. ;) And "Thank you Lord for making gals." How cute is that! The stories are performed like a radio show with sound effects and different voices for all the characters. These and the songs are read and sung with a wonderful Texas accent....made me feel homesick!!

Then we read "The Case of the One-eyed Killer Stud Horse," and the kids really got a kick out of it. Hank's day starts out easy enough until he eats a bunch of bacon grease and gets sick causing his master's wife to break her ankle in the process. Then he has to play dress up with Little Albert's girl cousins who almost get trampled by an escaped lunatic killer stud horse with one eye named Tuerto - which must mean Killer Stud Horse in Spanish or something. The final chapter is titled "Happy Ending and Also the Case of the Flying Punkin Pie." I put that in there so you could reassure your kids that Hank was going to be okay after his fight with Tuerto.

We're looking forward to adding more Hank the Cowdog books to our library. I may be able to talk daddy into springing for a membership to Hank's Security Force; a two-year subscription is only $12.95 and includes all sorts of goodies like a Hank bookmark and poster. And I'm seriously eye-ing the Hank t-shirts. How often can a kid get a cool t-shirt like that with his name on it? I think my Hank will love it.

I have to note that Hank uses some 'ranch language' in his books and on his CD's. Words like:

Stupid- "He gave me his usual stupid expression..."

Numbskull- "I just told you, Numbskull, I don't have hay fever."

Nasty - "Get out of here, you nasty thing!"

Heck - "...and told him to stay the heck out of the mud..."

While we don't let our kids use these words, we also don't avoid them. We view them more as opportunities for discussion - "Was that a nice way to talk to his friend? No? What could he have said instead?" and so on.

That said, we really enjoyed these products, and we think you will too!

You can buy Hank products here, and you can read what other TOS Crew members have to say about it here.

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