By: Linda Harkey
Illustrated by: Archway Publishing
Publisher: Archway Publishing
Publication Date: June 2017
Reviewed by: Katie Specht
Review Date: June 21, 2021
Author Linda Harkey brings her experiences as a hunting dog owner to life in her book entitled Hickory Doc’s Tales (The Pack: First Generation). This story shares the adventures of a hunting dog named Doc and his family. Doc is a German shorthaired pointer, the oldest and wisest in his family, which also includes Zeke, Rush, Patch, Newt, Sadie, Rocky, and Deacon.
Doc and his family find themselves in some interesting situations, some of which include Zeke impulsively catching a skunk, Rush accidentally obtaining a mouth full of porcupine quills, and Doc giving in to temptation by eating his human’s meal of hamburgers, fries and salad, which subsequently leads to him being punished in more ways than one. Doc also successfully solves the mystery of what causes Sneezy the owl to constantly sneeze and consequently turn himself upside-down on his perch.
The escapades that Doc and his family find themselves in are frequently humorous and, more often than not, provide some example of a positive characteristic, such as resiliency, determination, and the strong bond of a family unit. These situations often require Doc and his family to solve a problem by working together. Once they have used teamwork to engineer a solution, the gratification and pride that they feel as a result is unmistakable.
A simple chapter book, Hickory Doc’s Tales is best suited for young readers ages 7 and up. The chapters are short and written in easily understood prose for those readers who are just beginning to read chapter books. Kids will appreciate the fun and often quirky chapter titles and subheadings found throughout the story.
While this is a chapter book, the author did include some illustrations scattered throughout the book. Adding these illustrations is a definite method of attracting the interest of young readers who are transitioning from full picture books to books with more text.
The author wrote this book from the point of view of Doc, the hunting dog. Young kids will find this perspective fun and entertaining. However, it is worth noting that older kids, especially middle schoolers, may think that this makes the story too “childish” for them. Therefore, this book appears to be most appropriate for young readers ages 7 to about ages 9 or 10. It is plausible that even young kindergarteners of ages 5 and 6 would be able to read this book with assistance.
Quill says: Hickory Doc’s Tales is a fun-filled collection of the adventures of Doc the hunting dog and his family. Harkey’s writing style is easy to read and amusing for young readers, while the explorations themselves are humorous and often teach valuable lessons.
To learn more about Hickory Doc’s Tales, please visit the author’s website at www.harkeybooks.com.