Hank the Cowdog
John R. Erickson
Puffin Books
1983

Funny ol’ Hank the Cowdog. Snarky, deadpan, misunderstood–it’s easy to see why folks think this dog’s adventures on a Texas Ranch (and told in his voice) are so fun to read.

But the widespread love for Hank, especially among the Christians I know, puzzles me. I’m definitely in the minority here, and I would appreciate readers’ comments as to whether you agree with me or not.

Here’s what troubles me: Hank lies to his other dog friend (can’t remember his name), the coyotes in the book are blatant caricatures of the old stereotypical image of Native Americans, and Hank just doesn’t seem that admirable a guy. Anyone else seeing these things?

Sure, he’s funny. And I couldn’t help but “hear” my Texan uncle throughout the book–the author has nailed the Texan way of speaking and that dry humor so many of them have. Yet, the issues I just mentioned trouble me. Maybe kids read these books when they’re old enough to see through those points, but still…. troubling nonetheless.

Comments from the peanut gallery? Anyone else troubled by these issues? Anyone want to speak up as to why Hank is so awesome?

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