Title: The Case of the Swirling Killer TornadoHank-Tornado
Author: John R. Erickson
Illustrator: Gerald L. Holmes
Pages: 112
Reading Level: 9-12
Star Rating: Undetermined

Woof! Woof!

The Story.                     

WHAT’S THAT NOISE???? Is it, is it, is it alien monsters? Or is it a monstrous, swirling, killer tornado? Whatever it is, a cool, calm, collected retreat is in order for the… Drover, RUN!!!!

Thankfully, Hank and Drover have a confederate in the main house – Little Alfred. Little Alfred will give them a break. Little Alfred will give them protection from this awful, mind-blowing storm. And Little Alfred does – but the big, nasty tornado refuses to give up. It chases them. IT’S AWFUL!

Will Hank and Drover survive the pursuit of the swirling killer tornado?

Funny Quotes.

“What is today?”

“Today is today, Drover, the very day in which we are living and breathing.”

“Oh. Well, if it’s already today, there’s no need for us to wait around for it. We might as well take a little nap.”

I thought about that for a moment. “Good point. A little nap sometimes does wonders.”

“Yeah, and it’ll help us wake up later on.” [pg. 3]

Oh. Um. I can see how that might work… When the storm begins, Hank launches a ferocious attack on the house door, hoping to find safety behind its confines.

I threw my entire body and soul into the task of mowing down that door. I had become a chain saw, a battering ram, a sledgehammer, a powerful laser-driven machine that was totally dedicated to the task of…

Some doors are thicker than you might suppose. This one proved to be pretty stubborn. I mean, chips and sawdust were flying everywhere, and my teeth were throwing up sparks and my claws were ripping huge hunks of wood from . . .

I stopped to rest. Drover was watching. “How’s it going?”

“Piece of cake. We’re almost there. Just a few more bites and we’ll be inside the house.”

I took a gulp of air and hit it again, this time with the fury of . . . nobody had warned me that this particular door was ten inches thick and made of solid oak.

I mean, we’re talking about a door that must have weighed, oh, five hundred pounds. It’s a wonder they could find hinges to hold it up, and I doubt that any dog in the world could have . . .

And did I mention that it was covered with steel armored plate? Yes sir, one inch of solid steel, bolted into ten inches of solid oak, and I soon realized that if I kept up my frenzy of chewing, I would soon be toothless.

I stopped to catch my breath and spit wood. Steel, that is, from the steel plate. [pg. 34]

This when Hank is trying to resist the “Bacon Urge”.

I couldn’t turn off my nose. What’s a guy to do?

I mean, you’ve got this very sensitive high-tech sensory device sitting out there on the end of your snoot and it can pick up the scent of a fly three hundred yards away in the midst of a hurricane and most of the time that’s good, but sometimes it works against you when. . .

The smell of that bacon was about to drive me bazooka!

I was trembling. The water works of my mouth were pumping away, I mean, we’re talking about an artesian well flowing a hundred gallons a minute and when a guy has a river running through his mouth, he’s got to . . . lick his chops. [pg. 46]

Though not a dog, I’ve experienced the same sensations.

You want some good friendly advice? The next time you get a chance to bark at a tornado, go bark at a pickup. [pg. 93]

Thanks for the advice, Hank. I shall consider it the next time I want to bark at a tornado.


Hank initially believes that the tornado is ‘Charlie Monsters’ “sprinting from building to building on their hairy green legs and setting up listening devices that would zero in on the sounds of our barking. It was just a matter of time until they found us, and then . . . gulp.” [pg. 30] Throughout the story, Hank refers to the ‘Charlie Monsters’ every time something scary happens.

Little Alfred allows Hank and Drover to come into his house, even though his parents don’t want them inside, and delights in the fact that they have deceived his parents. .

In one scene, Hank tells Drover that dogs who eat more than two slices of bacon turn into a cat. Since Drover has just eaten two slices of bacon, he thinks he’s turning into a cat. He appeals to Hank who devises a ‘magic curative’ for him to recite. He recites it and lo and behold, doesn’t turn into a cat!

Hank and Wallace have an insulting chat.

An illustration is given of Slim Chance in nothing but his underpants.

Conclusion. Definitely a departure from the typical Hank the Cowdog book. Not as enjoyable as others in the series.

Note: This review is of The Case of the Swirling Tornado not the entire Hank the Cowdog series.

Review © 2013 Laura Verret

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