Monday, August 24, 2009

Maverick Books- Hank the Cowdog and Tornado Game

Maverick Books may or may not sound familiar, but chances are good that you have heard of the series they publish- Hank the Cowdog! I have met many a Hank fan throughout thirteen years of homeschooling, and a few of my children have read a book or two themselves, so of course I was interested to check it out via the TOS Crew.

We were sent an audio sampler CD, a book, and a game. It arrived while I was sick with the flu and I asked my kids to place it in my review cupboard for later. The youngest three were too excited to try out the game and wanted to go ahead and get started on their own, so of course I said, "Sure!".

The Tornado game is based on the book, The Case of the Swirling Killer Tornado, and is somewhat similar to the childhood game, Trouble. It is a small, travel size game where everything can be stored right inside the foldable plastic board. I LOVE this! The characters sit inside pegs so this would be a great option for long drives, flights, etc. It comes with twelve plastic characters from the story and a spinner. My kids (7, 9 & 10) had a bit of a problem with the spinner sticking at first, but seemed to get the hang of it pretty quickly.

They played a couple of times and then a couple more times a few days later, but haven't played much lately. I'm not sure this is the "game of the century" but it is an enjoyable game and the travel aspect makes it even better.

Inside the game box is a cassette tape with the audio version of the book on which the game is based. Unfortunately, we do not have a cassette player and could not listen to the story. I'm sure if we had that it would have added to the game play enjoyment.

As my children were more familiar with Hank than I, it seemed like a good idea to read The Case of the One-Eyed Killer Stud Horse myself before anyone else claimed it. I threw it in my tote as we headed to the pond and read it while the children played in the water. I had heard how humorous the Hank books were, and did find myself grinning several times, but was a tad disappointed when I finished. It was a cute story but I didn't understand most of the humor. I figured it may be the Yankee blood in me that just wasn't getting the whole Texas ranch flavor.

I still had the audio CD left. A few days later I was waiting in the van, alone, in a high end mall parking lot. It was hot and the windows were rolled down. I turned on the sampler CD, Tales and Tunes, and closed my eyes. It wasn't long before I found myself laughing OUT LOUD. Author John Erickson's rendition of his stories brings the whole thing to life and suddenly I could see the humor! I turned it up, causing many odd glances to come my way as Cape Cod tourist's shopping was interrupted by It's Not Smart to Show Your Hiney to a Bear and the like. This CD contains snippets of stories and songs from several of the books. This is a great way to get a taste for each and discover which your family would enjoy. And I would HIGHLY recommend listening to an audio version before the written. The excerpt from the book I had read had me laughing aloud when I listened to it, as opposed to a grin here and there.

I am convinced that if I'd reversed the order of products, I would have enjoyed them much more. Unless you're familiar with Texas ranchers, I'd suggest audio. They're great fun! Especially in snooty public places. ;-)

Tales and Tunes from Hank the Cowdog is available for $3, Hank the Cowdog books range from $4 to $20 depending on format (packages are also available), and the Tornado game sells for $12.99.

2 comments:

Debra said...

Too funny about the snooty places. I hadn't thought about that aspect at all.

Of course, we're nearly in the original republic of Texas where we are in Colorado, and our nearest neighbors are cattle... so I might have to try harder to find a place where people wouldn't immediately understand the humor. :)

TerriG said...

First of all, I can't believe I missed this review. Secondly, we learned a long time ago Hank books are definitely best when read by the author. The killer stud horse is one of the best. There are so many good ones. We pick them out at the library near the playground. We must discuss this in person.

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