CM . . .
. Volume XI Number 21 . . . .June 24, 2005
Judging by the popularity of the first two picture books featuring Walter the Farting Dog, it is no surprise that a third adventure, Rough Weather Ahead for Walter the Farting Dog, has just been published. In this one, listed on the cover as "Book 3 in the New York Times Bestselling Series," Walter's family is visited by Professor Kompressor, a specialist in the study of animal gas. Naturally, the inevitable happens when the professor pokes Walter's stomach.
The good professor claims he will be able to help Walter with his disorder and leaves the family with a special formula to be mixed in his gleaming Kompressatron machine. Soon, Father starts to mix the ingredients, and to everyone's joy, Walter's emissions taper off. Unfortunately, the unreleased gas is building up inside Walter, and before long he is looking and acting like a blimp, soaring off over the trees as the helpless children look on. Walter floats for days over hills and rivers and skyscrapers and farms until finally he drifts into the middle of a million half frozen butterflies. Naturally, he draws on his inner power, and the resultant warm blast saves the ice-encrusted insects. Once more, Walter returns home to a hero's welcome.
Glenn Murray is the educator who invented Walter and has co-authored all three stories of the gaseous pooch with William Kotzwinkle, best known for his novel, E.T. Extraterrestrial. In this most recent adventure, Rough Weather Ahead for Walter the Farting Dog, Elizabeth Gundy is listed as a co-author. Gundy is best known for her novel, Bliss, and a comic novel entitled The Disappearance of Gregory Pluckrose. Why a story with as thin a plot line as the third Walter adventure and nothing new in the character or setting category would require a trio of authors is something of a mystery.
Certainly, Rough Weather Ahead for Walter the Farting Dog will not disappoint loyal fans, though the "F" word doesn't even make an appearance in the last ten pages. Audrey Coleman's unique style of digital painting and collage technique results in a series of brilliantly coloured and quirky illustrations, each of which complements the mischievous tone of the story perfectly. From the wildly improbable wardrobes of her characters (including Professor Kompressor's mismatched socks) to the oddly distorted buildings and streets over which Walter floats, every picture will elicit a chuckle or two from readers of all ages.
Whether this latest Walter adventure will become a bestseller or not is up for debate. However, elementary school librarians will likely want to bend to the tastes of their young readers and add it to their collection.
A retired teacher-librarian, Valerie Nielsen lives in Winnipeg, MB.
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