CM . . .
. Volume XVIII Number 33. . . .April 27, 2012
Walter, the Farting Dog.
William Kotzwinkle & Glenn Murray.
Berkley, CA: Frog, Ltd. (Distributed in Canada by Random House of Canada), 2001.
32 pp., hardcover, $19.95.
Dogs - Juvenile fiction.
Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 4-8.
Review by Valerie Nielsen.
Betty and Billy brought Walter home from the dog pound. “Nobody wanted him,” said Billy.
“But we love him,” said Betty.
“Well, he smells awful,” said their mother. “I think you’d better give him a bath.”
Alas, Walter smells no better post than pre-bath. Probably he is nervous, or has an upset stomach, Mother ventures hopefully… “But Walter’s stomach wasn’t upset. Walter’s stomach was fine. He felt perfectly normal. He just farted a lot…” No matter what the activity or the place—even when he is a sleep—Walter farts.
Father insists that Walter be carted off to the vet who prescribes a change in diet for what the medical profession describes as “rectal flatulence”. But nothing helps, until one day, having gorged himself on a 25 pound bag of low-fart biscuits, Walter interrupts a pair of burglars with the worst fart of his life…
It made a tremendous noise and shot him across the room. A hideous cloud filled the
air. The burglars clutched their throats, unable to breathe…Let’s get out of here…
They jumped out the window and ran up the block, choking and gasping for air. Still blinded by Walter’s attack, they stepped into the headlights of an approaching police car.
Thus does Walter renounce his canine non-grata role and become the acclaimed hero of his family.
Walter, the Farting Dog is the first book about the canine hero with a peculiar digestive idiosyncy which was dreamed up by Kotzwinkle and his writer friend Glenn Murray and published in 2001.
An instant success in 2001 when it hit the press, the book has sold over 1 million copies and been followed by four sequels, all of which have been translated into a dozen or more languages, including Hebrew, Latin and Korean.
There is no doubt that Walter, the Farting Dog well deserves its description by an earlier reviewer as “a subversive favourite.” It continues to have particular appeal to the bathroom humour brigade who tend to accumulate in grades one through three.
A major part of the success of the “Walter” books must be attributed to artist Audrey Colman, whose detailed and brilliantly coloured depictions of the perpetually apologetic pooch and his eccentrically dressed family are amazingly inventive and funny. Young readers and listeners will continue to enjoy Colman’s off-the-wall humour as well as the search for a ubiquitous spider which appears on (almost?) every page.
A retired teacher-librarian, Valerie Nielsen lives in Winnipeg, MB.
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