When the going gets tough, the tough go to the children’s section of the library. There they check out audio books: specifically, HANK THE COW DOG audio books.
These little babies are more fun to listen to than to read, I admit readily. When I have a long trip, or need a crochet break from Netflix, or just want to surrender to silliness for a few hours, they become my go to boys.
Hank is a self-important idiot cow dog of indistinct origins, hairier than he is smart. Still, Hank manages, with the help of his friends, to solve quite a few crimes on the ol’ ranch. His friends include a father-and-son buzzard team, the little dog Drover (whose voice reminds you of every western you’ve ever seen with the expendable beloved elder sidekick) and sundry horses, chickens, and ranch hands. Also his arch-enemy, The Cat.
Hank’s ponderous thinking processes, the voices Erickson uses for the characters (all done himself) and the cute plots (foiling a fiddling fox in the hen house, living rough with the coyotes when he decides he’s not valued enough at the ranch) make these books laugh out loud fun. Each book features at least one song, lyrical gems such as
Eating bugs is lots of fun, they don’t require a hot dog bun/Nourishment for everyone, eating bugs is fun!!!
That kind of thing.
With 66 to choose from, I recommend spacing them out. If you binge listen, they get the sameness that every prolific author inevitably displays. But if you parse them out over long car drives or desperate needs to stop adulting for a couple of hours, they act like little tea breaks for the mind. Return refreshed from the M-Cross ranch, and Hank’s weird brand of doggie wisdom.
Authors, take note (and heart): Erickson started self-publishing these books in 1982 out of his garage, intending them for adults; they have since been translated into 26 languages and sold more than 8.5 million copies to become one of the most beloved family-friendly series of all time. There’s a lot of joy to be found within believing in yourself.