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‘Hank the Cowdog’ author John Erickson rides into Marble Falls

John Erickson coming to the Marble Falls Public Library

Marble Falls Public Library children's librarian Misty Smith checks out one of John Erickson’s 'Hank the Cowdog' books. Erickson is visiting the library on March 5. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

Hank has a nose for getting into trouble and a penchant for working his way out of it. And it always makes for a good, often humorous, yarn.

In fact, Hank, also known as the Head of Ranch Security, has built quite the fanbase since Texas author John R. Erickson began writing the rangy dog’s stories in 1983.

“He’s captured at least three generations with his Hank books,” said Marble Falls Public Library children’s librarian Misty Smith. “We have grandparents who have come in here and told us they can’t wait to bring their grandkids to see (Erickson).”

The author of the “Hank the Cowdog” series will stop by the Marble Falls Public Library on Thursday, March 5, for two programs: one at 10 a.m. and another at 1 p.m. No reservations are required for the free presentations, and Smith said it looks like it will be a packed house.

“There will be limited seating, and we expect to have people standing, but that’s OK,” she said. “It’s going to be worth it.”

Erickson isn’t just coming to talk; he’s also bringing his banjo.

“That’s one thing I want people to know: He puts on a show,” Smith said. “He’s pretty entertaining and engaging.”

Erickson, a native Texan who still lives in Perryton, where he was raised, worked as a ranch cowboy in Texas and Oklahoma from 1974-81.

Within the hard life of a cowboy, Erickson found time for writing, often setting aside four hours a day to do so. He penned a number of books, essays, and short stories.

After 15 years of little to no commercial success, he and wife Kris started a small publishing company in their garage in 1982. The following year, they published the first “Hank the Cowdog” book.

Since those first books, the “Hank” series has sold more than 8 million copies and includes 71 books. 

Smith said Erickson’s stories continue to connect with young readers.

“When I look at the (circulation) returns, it seemed like there was always ‘Hank the Cowdog’ books there,” Smith said. ” … It’s just wholesome, family fun. No matter which book you pick up, you’re going on a fun adventure, and kids love that.”

Not just kids but their parents and grandparents, too, making the Erickson visit a multi-generational event.

“We wanted to bring in as many people as we could, and when we started talking about getting John (to come to the library), it was amazing,” Smith said. “It wasn’t just the kids who got excited, but it was their parents and their grandparents. We’ve had so many parents and grandparents say they loved reading Hank books. We can’t wait.”

Erickson won’t be selling books at the programs, but Smith said people can bring their copies for autographs. However, the library requests that people ask for autographs after the 10 a.m. program because Erickson needs to make an afternoon flight.

The Marble Falls Public Library is located at 101 Main St. Call 830-693-3023 or visit the website for more information.