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The Remarkable Story of Willie the Crow

When a young hunting dog and a crow decide to be friends, the dog pack does not know what to think. They hunt birds, yet a crow wants to hang out and be friends with them. Willie, the crow, is undeterred by the gruff hunting dogs and enjoys playing with the puppy Patch. While playing, Willie flies over the pool, and Patch, not paying attention, falls in. Turns out Patch does not know how to swim. None of the dogs know how to swim. They run to find the Labrador Newt thinking he can swim, but he is terrified of the water. Finally, through some encouragement from family and friends, he jumps in to save Patch.

The Remarkable Story of Willie the Crow: A Hickory Doc’s Tale, written by Linda Harkey, is a creative picture book about the friendship between two unlikely animals. The pack of dogs is concerned that a puppy hanging out with a crow is wrong, and they try to convince their senior dog Doc to put an end to the friendship. Doc, however, is a thinker; he looks at the situation and, rather than jump to conclusions, evaluates the benefits. He backs up his decision by pointing out that Willie the crow has worked with them to save Patch rather than just flying off and leaving her to drown. The message of inclusion and acceptance makes this children’s book a great addition to any book collection.

Illustrator Mike Minick has done an excellent job capturing the emotions of the dogs and Willie. Each page is vibrant and engaging. Even without the text, the story is clear from the marvelous drawings. Children will laugh as they learn a valuable lesson about friendship and family.

The Remarkable Story of Willie the Crow: A Hickory Doc’s Tale is a captivating tale about friends, family, acceptance, working together, and believing in yourself. Parents and educators will love having this picture book to read to children in and out of the classroom.

Pages: 38 | ASIN : B07LCKSXSW

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Secrets, Gifts, Family

Willie the crow wants to eat the pack’s dog chow. The problem is he promised to not eat it from the kennel, and the other bowls are in the house with the Food Giver. To get to the bowels he must enter through the dog door, and this turns out to be harder than expected. Willie nearly drowns and gets stuck in a plant. After being rescued by Patch twice he makes it inside. There he taps on the refrigerator door and the Food Givers arrives and give him a small packet of walnuts and he flies out the window before the pack gets in and sees him. Willie keeps his special treats a secret from the pack

Doc, Willie, and the Pack: Secrets, Gifts, Family written by Linda Harkey returns readers to the Lazy Dog Hacienda. Willie the crow is part of the family that lives here. Willie however has a secret, he gets special treats from the Food Giver and is afraid to tell the pack about them. Instead, he brings the empty wrappers to Zeke as gifts making up stories about where he found them. Eventually, the truth comes out thanks to a newspaper article that was done on Willie that the pack saw.  

This entertaining picture book talks about family, keeping secrets, and friendships. Young elementary-age children will love the colorful illustrations of Mike Minick and the expression all the dogs have. This light-hearted story has a great message about friendship and family that they will be able to relate to. The adventures of Willie trying to get into the house will have children and adults laughing and asking, can crows get glasses, because clearly, poor Willie needs them.

Doc, Willie, and the Pack: Secrets, Gifts, Family: (A Hickory Doc’s Tale) is an engaging read for classrooms, libraries, and parents to read to children. It will make a great early reader for children learning to read with the vibrant artwork to help tell the story.

Pages: 52 | ASIN: B07XLHR2SZ

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Life Lessons For Children

Linda Harkey
Linda Harkey Author Interview

Solitary Toes and Brown-Headed Cowbirds follows a pack of hunting dogs and how they react when a horse is brought to their farm. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The inspiration for Solitary Toes and Brown-Headed Cowbirds began when we lived in Catoosa, Oklahoma. We had horses and many hunting dogs. The memories of all our animals are what I want to record for the next generation of young readers.

The art in this book is fantastic. What was the art collaboration process like with the illustrator Mike Minick?

Mike Minick is a wonderful illustrator. He is an illustrator and a graphic designer in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Mike and I are very compatible. I send Mike my manuscript which he reads and then we talk about his ideas for the illustrations. He makes many sketches, we discuss, and then he lines them up with the text. He will send me colored-in sketches during this process. Then he completes the illustrations with the text and sets it up in book form according to Archway Publishing’s guide lines. Then we send to the publisher. We spend around one hour each week talking with each other until the process is complete.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

  1. Life lessons for children shown through animals—team effort, helping friends, being nice to others, and learning from family members.
  2. Relationships between different kinds of animals.
  3. Learning about nature.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Chatty the Hen Pheasant (Travels With The Pack) – It became available 11/11/2021.

Desert Friends (Travels With The Pack) – I’m sending it to Archway Publishing in a couple of weeks.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | Website

Doc is the oldest and wisest of five hunting dogs at the Lazy Dog Hacienda. He’s expected to keep the rest of the pack in line, especially during hunting trips. But things get interesting when the Great One (our hunter) adds a new animal into the mix.

Solitary Toes and Brown-Headed Cowbirds shares a humorous story depicting the relationships between horses, cowbirds, and hunting dogs. Geared toward first through third grade readers, this young reader’s book helps children improve their reading skills while providing knowledge about animals, nature, and life lessons.

Solitary Toes and Brown-Headed Cowbirds

Solitary Toes and Brown-Headed Cowbirds: A Hickory Doc’s Tale by author Linda Harkey tells the story of how a pack of bird hunting dogs meet a race horse. Zeek, Deacon, and Doc are German Shorthaired Pointers and very proud of their pedigree and hunting abilities. They live in their hacienda with the Great One and the Other One and hunt birds. They were not pleased at all when BJ the race horse is brought to their farm. After a few scuffles between horse and dogs, they decided to set things straight once and for all, with an old fashion race.

Author Linda Harkey has written an entertaining children’s book. The personalities of all the animals will delight children. From the first page you will find the hunting dogs humorous and engaging. The artwork by illustrator Mike Minick brings Harkey’s words to life. The collaboration between the two is extraordinary. Readers will enjoy the banter between BJ and the pack, especially Zeek who likes to stir up trouble and than blame someone else.

Solitary Toes and Brown-Headed Cowbirds: A Hickory Doc’s Tale by author Linda Harkey is perfect for a classroom library or for children that love animal stories. This enchanting picture book has humorous dialogue, colorful and vibrant artwork, and a thrilling storyline that will make this a book you will definitely want to add to your collection.

Pages: 48 | ASIN : B07NJLPL94

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Living With Hunting Dogs

Linda Harkey
Linda Harkey Author Interview

Hickory Doc’s Tales is a collection of humorous stories following the adventures and misadventures at The Lazy Dog Hacienda kennels. What was the inspiration for the setup to your stories?

The memories of over thirty years of living with hunting dogs. My stories come from our relationships with them in the field and at home along with my teaching experiences both in schools and as a docent at several museums. As a docent, I helped develop curricula for children’s programs and gave many presentations to children both at the museums and local schools.

Zeke was my favorite character in the story. Do you have a favorite character in the book?

All of them. Doc for his wisdom and leadership. Zeke (Doc’s brother) for his orneriness, determination, selfishness and humility at times. Patch (Doc’s daughter) for her inclusion of other animals, inquisitive nature, and her hunting skills. Rush (Doc’s Son) for his adventurous nature. Newt (family Lab) for his loyalty and kindness.

What were some ideas that were important for you to share in this book?

Ideas that were important for me to share in Hickory Doc’s Tales for elementary children readers and adults are:

Presenting teachable tales to elementary children on the lives of hunting dogs, other animals in nature, habitat, and life lessons involving—family, bravery, diversity, loyalty, adventure, solving problems, acceptance of others, patience, and not blaming others for your mistakes.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Chatty the Hen Pheasant (Travels With The Pack) Archway Publishing is printing it now. It will be out in December, 2021.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | Website

His official name is Chicorees Hickory Doc, and he can trace his family tree back to a sapling in Germany. The oldest and wisest of five, he lives at The Lazy Dog Hacienda kennels on Shorthair Boulevard in Oklahoma. Folks just call him Doc.
In Hickory Docs Tales, Doc shares a host of humorous stories from his important role as a hunting dog, and he narrates what life is like at the kennel. He tells tales about his adventures and mishaps with porcupines and cactus and of relationships with humans, other animals, and his tight-knit family of dogs.
Geared toward elementary school readers, Hickory Docs Tales s helps youth transition to chapter books, and it encourages a host of creative writing opportunities and exercises.

Hickory Doc’S Tales

Hickory Doc’S Tales: The Pack: First Generation by [Linda Harkey]

This bucolic children’s book contains a collection of humorous stories following the adventures and misadventures at The Lazy Dog Hacienda kennels in Oklahoma.

Hickory Doc’s Tales is a cute story about a family of hunting dogs. Zeke is easily my favorite character because he is the misunderstood uncle and sort of the black sheep of the family. Zeke considers himself better than his brother and family. Eventually he becomes humble and children will learn a good lesson along the way as well. Newt is my second favorite character because he is loyal and even though he is a different breed of dog, they still consider him family, this sends a wonderful message of diversity and inclusion to young readers. He is a little insecure, but quickly realizes his differences are positive and helpful. It’s cute to see how close this family of dogs are, the lengths they go through for one another and the adventures they share. There is also a delightful variety of colorful side characters that appear throughout the book.

Now, even though the characters were lovely I wasn’t fond of the author’s writing style. I felt like that held back the story a bit. It was well edited, but some of the wording felt almost robotic.

This is a book for young readers that are transitioning to chapter books. The book was well edited, but I wanted there to be more of a flow to the language so that the writing matched the easy flow of life in the book.

I loved the illustrations! They were very well done and added life and dimension to the story. The illustrations were placed perfectly throughout the book giving you a better feel for what happened in that chapter. The chapters are very short. The book itself is perfect for an elementary student from grades four to six. I found it interesting that the author is a hunting dog owner and wondered about all the sources of inspiration she must have had!

Hickory Doc’S Tales is such a cute story that young readers will absolutely adore.

Pages: 116 | ASIN: B0796623SZ

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