The Monday Books: HANK THE COW DOG by John Erickson

hankWhen 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 quote 3

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 quote 1Hank’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.

hank quote 2With 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.

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It’s the Great Cat Reunion of 2015!

Jack and I have wanted to have a cat reunion for ages, but in the present economy travel money is tricky for people.

Plus some people think having a cat reunion is a crazy notion, and although they love the cat they got from us, they’re not going to travel to show it.

And you have to admit, having a bunch of cats in one place and time like that would be like, well, herding cats.

So our friend Elissa came up with a great idea, and created the BOOKSTORE CATS ADOPTION REUNION on Facebook. If you’ve adopted a cat from us (or placed a cat with us) we want to hear your stories, see your videos and pictures, and find out how things are going.

Send us your favorites, and let us do what the Internet was created for: ooh and over cats.

As an incentive, here’s our big boy Mal, who was adopted by David and Susan in North Carolina. Mal had a cleft palate and looked like he was ten minutes from dying. With a serious operation and a lot of TLC afterward, he gained health and vitality – plus weight. Pity he never gained brain cells, but that’s a separate story. mal 1And now, five pictures of Mal showing the transformation love and a little luck can bring. (They go in reverse order, from Mal on David and Susan’s couch to the Sunday afternoon we found him on our bookstore lawn and stashed him in the garage until we could get him to the vet.)

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