Title: Murder in the Middle PastureHank the Cowdog # 4 - Murder in the Middle Pasture
Author: John R. Erickson
Illustrator: Gerald L. Holmes
Pages: 120
Reading Level: 9-12
Star Rating: ★★★★

Well, if it ain’t that one of a kind cowdog hisself!

The Story.

Why it’s just plain wrong, that’s what it is – having SNOW on the ranch. Whosever heard of such a thing? Ranches are supposed to be nice and warm and cozy and snorglesnuff…

Ahem, yes, that definitely wasn’t a nap that just happened. Haha, I guess that’s what you thought it was. But it was actually the sound of me, Hank the Cowdog, warming up my growlerator. See, Loper and Sally May have gone off to visit their folks for Christmas, and that means that extra vigalence… vijelance… vigilens… security is in order. Yessiree, because that Slim Chance is a real dud at surveillance.

But what is this? A heifer is stumbling home alone in the snow! Where is her calf? There’s only one answer – the calf has been murdered by those fearsome outlaws, the coyotes! It’s time for law and order to reach its mighty grasp into that pack of thieving outlaws!

Discussion.

Oh, Hank! You never fail to cheer me up with your comedy-driven, ego-laced accounts of life on the ranch. Only you would say,

“”I don’t believe anything I hear and only half of what I see.” [pg. 4]

And how but this one?

“On this ranch, perfect is usually good enough.” [pg. 67]

But most of all, your own dedication to excellence.

“Hank the Cowdog has never aspired to ordinarity.” [pg. 73]

What an inspirational reminder.

XD

In one scene, Hank finds his surroundings familiar and accounts for his feeling thus.

“This phenomenon, known as Pre-Visitation Dreameration, is fairly common among the higher echelon of cowdogs. Stripped of the complex scientific language, it simply means that some dogs actually have the ability to visit the future in their dreams – hence my feeling that I had been to this cave before.” [pg. 74]

On the next page, Hank realizes that he actually has been in this cave before, and no amount of déjà vu is necessary to explain the circumstance. When Hank first spots Wallace, the buzzard, he thinks that he’s the grim reaper. Obviously, he isn’t.

Hank fancies himself as making a great impression with the ladies. In this particular story, he sings a song about the love of his life, the collie Beulah, just a chapter or so before he sneaks a kiss off of Missy Coyote.

Mild euphemisms, ‘gosh’, ‘heck’, ‘darn’, ‘dang’, and the like are scattered throughout the story.

Conclusion. I always enjoy reading Hank the Cowdog, but I believe that I am more capable of sorting through silliness and sarcasm to enjoy the truly hilarious nuggets of humor in Hank than most children would be. However, each parent will probably want to try Hank out and come to their own conclusions concerning what their children can handle.

Review © 2014 Laura Verret

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