Our family opened this package with a lot of enthusiasm! Seeing all the animals on the cover of the CD, Tales and Tunes from Hank The Cowdog($3), and the horse on the cover of the book, The Case Of The One-Eyed Killer Stud Horse($4.24) and of course seeing the game Tornado($12.99) definitely caused some excitement. We have what I would call a small farm so I knew the kids would easily identify with the characters.
Well, the theme behind Hank the Cowdog is a great one. Happenings on the ranch are all told from this dog's perspective who has quite a sense of humor. The CD takes you back to the days of old-time radio with characters voiced by the author, John Erickson, plus some neat sound effects.
I always try to skim through books and CD's before sharing them with my children and I will have to be honest and say that there was too much skimming even in the beginning of the story to be able to read it to my kids. They are still young and impressionable and there are a few too many words used in a way that I don't want my children mimicking. Even my 6 yr. old, who walked in the house while I was listening to the CD made a comment about something that was said not being very nice. I would think older children would really enjoy the stories without being as influenced. This is my humble opinion and you should definitely investigate for yourself if it is suitable for your family. There are samples available on the website to listen to and here is the one of the book I reviewed.
Now the game, Tornado, is a whole different story! All of my kids, even Elijah (almost 2) has fun using the spinner and we all enjoyed sending each other back home. The game pieces were fun to look at: Hank, Drover and Buzzard. The game has become a great incentive for getting schoolwork and chores done! I love the way it is small, not a lot of pieces and the game folds up into a nice travel case. For young kids it is nice because you are reviewing colors and counting. For Redd, my 6 yr. old, it was a good chance to introduce the concept of even and odd because that is part of the game when you land on the Tornado spot. And Elijah, he gets the biggest thrill out of the spinner!
The website is easy to navigate, the prices are good and if your family does enjoy reading this series of books, there are a lot of neat things featured like games, a quarterly newsletter, and a members only club you can join. It even looks like there was some type of writing contest and the winner's stories are available to read. If you have a school or group that enjoys acting, there are plays and musical comedies to choose from that include a script, song CD, sheet music and fundraising ideas. The author, John Erickson may be contacted using email, phone or fax.
Hank the Cowdog series, published by Maverick Books, is a popular series throughout the country and Erickson is a cowboy who writes about the life he knows and loves, an important trait for anybody that wants to pursue writing as a career!