Title: The Case of the Missing CatThe-Case-of-the-Missing-Cat
Author: John R. Erickson
Pages: 114
Reading Level: 10 & up
Star Rating: Undetermined

Yep, it’s Hank again…

The Story.

That cat, Pete, thinks he’s pretty smart. But he’s just made a losing bet, yes siree. He was foolish enough to bet that Hank, the wonderful amazing stupendously unbelievably fit cowdog can’t catch a rabbit in three tries. The stupidity! The fact that Hank will gain nothing from the bet if he wins and Pete will be the new Head of Ranch Security if he loses doesn’t faze him in the least. How could he possibly lose?

Easily, it turns out. And now, with Pete installed as the new Head of Ranch Security, Hank feels that his life has only one purpose – to exact revenge. But can he find the proper time and place to do it? And will revenge be as sweet as he had hoped?


The hilarity continues.

“I paced around the two of them. Drover watched me until his head went as far to the south as it could go without coming unscrewed, and at that point he fell over backward.” [pg. 5]

That was funny.

“Pete had made a dumb mistake and had thrown down the goblet, so to speak, and challenged me to enter into a foolish wager. Foolish for Pete, that is.

Okay, the only question left to ask was, “Would Hank the Cowdog consider taking unfair advantage of a dumb cat?” And I didn’t need to run that one through the data banks.

In a word YES. I would, with all my heart and soul. [pg. 16]

Hank! Where is your chivalry?

“There’s the bet,” he grinned, “if you’re dog enough to take it.”

My eyes narrowed and a growl began to rumble deep in my throat. “Watch what you say, cat. Your words could come back to honk you. And if your words don’t honk you loud enough, I might consider doing a little honking of my own. Repeat the bet.” [pg. 18]

“Okay. Some ten feet north of the gas tanks, I throttled back to a slow gliding walk, switched my ears over to Manual Liftup, began testing the air with full nosetory equipment, and directed my VSD’s (Visual Scanning Devices; in ordinary dogs also referred to as “eyes”) toward a patch of grass directly west of the gas tanks. [pg. 22-23]

I shall henceforth refer to my eyes as VSD’s. Some good came out of reading this book!

“There is a wise old saying about people who laugh at the misfortunes of others: “He who laughs first. . . he who laughs last . . . he who laughs in the middle . . .”

There is this wonderful wise old saying about people laughing but I think we’ll skip it for now. It’s a real good wise old . . . never mind.” [pg. 39]

Don’t start a quote you can’t finish…

“I couldn’t help smirking. “If you recall, Drover, I have a little score to settle with the cat. While your tail is growing, Pete’s tail just might get shortened by a few inches,” I gave him a wink, “if you know what I mean.”

“Something’s wrong with your eye.”



“Don’t yell at me, there’s nothing wrong with my ears!”

“I know. It’s your eye.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Your eye was twitching. I saw it myself.”

I positioned my nose right in front of his face. “I was winking, you brick, to show that I had let you in on a little secret.”

“Oh. Well, I’ll be derned.” [pg. 73]


We zoomed past the mailbox and headed north. Drover broke the silence. “You don’t reckon we might see any coyotes, do you.”

“Are you joking?”

He started laughing. “Yeah, I was just joking.”

“That was a good joke, Drover, because up in that rough country, the coyotes are as thick as fleas.”

All at once it appeared that Drover suffered a blowout on his left front paw. “Boy howdy, this old leg just went out on me, Hank! I was afraid that might happen, I never should have pushed it so hard.” [pg. 104]

A few of Hank’s wise words…

“That was the straw that broke the camel’s tooth.” [pg. 1]

“I never argue with a loaded broom.” [pg. 85]


Pete and Hank engage in a continuous argument throughout the book (hence Hank’s desire to make Pete go missing). In several scenes they taunt each other, stick out their tongues, and call each other names. In another scene, Pete and Hank are escaping from Rip and Snort, and Pete chooses to taunt them. Here are his words.

“Mmmm, you big galoots couldn’t catch a flea on a grandpa’s knee, and ha ha ha and ho ho ho and hee hee hee, and I’ll bet your momma wears old tow sack drawers.” [pg. 110]

Not edifying. Hank thinks to himself that Pete’s words are unwise (not wrong or unkind, mind you) because there is the possibility that Rip and Snort might catch them, but he is not sorry for Pete’s snobbishness.

After Drover refuses to join Hank in the sewer, Hank tells Drover that his tail is deformed, ugly, and one that everyone laughs at. Drover’s feelings and image are hurt, so Hank suggests that he sit in the sewer and repeat a magical formula to make his tail grow back. It doesn’t work, but this is attributed to Drover’s stupidity, not the formula’s inability to effect growth.

Hank and Drover decide to lie once for the sake of keeping their reputations.

‘Gosh’ is used twelve times, ‘darn’, six times, ‘heck’ twice, and ‘holy smokes’ once.

Conclusion. I, as a young adult, enjoy reading Hank the Cowdog. I find it offers me perspective and relaxation when I’m stressed, and, because of my age, I am able to enjoy the humor and leave the silliness behind. However, I do not believe that young readers will be able to read Hank the Cowdog without being encouraged in silliness and sarcasm. For this reason, I do not recommend Hank the Cowdog for young readers, while reserving the right to enjoy it myself.

Note: This is a review of The Case of the Missing Cat not the entire Hank the Cowdog Series.

Review © 2013 Laura Verret

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