walter the farting dogFlatulence and Cute Animals: Everything Kids Want to Know About

Authors: William Kotzwinkle and Glen Murray

Perusing a bookstore in downtown DC with my boyfriend, searching out a good Christmas gift for his three year old nephew, I saw Walter the Farting Dog sitting on the edge of the shelf and teased my boyfriend. “We should buy him this,” I said while wiggling the book aloft.  I should have known better, I really should have. We walked out of the store with one Berenstain Bear (at my shrewish insistence) and my boyfriend beaming, carrying a copy of this hilarious, bizarrely drawn children’s book which is actually pretty irresistible for adults, seeing as I insisted on reading it before we wrapped the gifts.

The storyline is basic but compelling. Young children Billy and Betty go to the dog pound where they fall in love with Walter, a dog whom no one else wants. His need wilts their hearts and they bring him home to Father and Mother. It’s not long, however, before Walter’s lonely pound sentence is explained. The dog is excessively flatulent. During eating, sleeping, play time, bath time, and really just all the time, Walter has an excessive gas problem. Father says he has to go.

Desperate to stay with the family he loves, Walter resolves not to fart anymore. His tummy cramps get worse when he discovers a bag of dog biscuits and eats the entire thing. When a pair of burglars break into the house, Walter finally can’t stand it any longer. His foul smelling eruption drives the thieves away, scent marks them easily for the cops to find, and wakes up the sleeping family. Walter’s place in the family is now secure. Love is love, and Walter stays, even though he is stinky.

Illustrated by Audrey Colman the simple narrative comes alive through images. The streaming cloud of yellow green gas behind Walter expands into the most unpleasant of places. The artwork is suitably bizarre and comic, images being a cartoonish Picasso-esque sharp edged, oversized, delight. You can see an example, taken from Amazon’s Look Inside option to get the idea and see the unique style. Combined with Walter’s apologetic look and the obvious bad smell, the illustrations will have you laughing out loud, whether or not you are a child.

Taken from Amazon.com Look Inside Feature

Taken from Amazon.com Look Inside Feature

The writing itself, done by William Kotzwinkle and Glenn Murray is easy for children, yet descriptive. There is some verve to the tale and combining with the pictures, the story has a good range of emotion, crises, and resolution that will keep the kiddies entertained while learning how to read. I can easily see how parents would have a blast making Walter’s unique journey into a cheerful bedtime reading experience. There’s even a Walter the Farting Dog plush toy plus apparently many other books in the series. I think this is a major win.

Oh, and as for all you people going on about lack of educational value and crudity and all that . . . get over it. Walter the Farting Dog is a fun experience that will show children the enjoyable side of reading (encouraging them to learn to read and improve reading skills), make family memories, and educate them to compassion for the under-dog (literally). More importantly, it’s funny and enjoyable for the adults too.

–        Frances Carden


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Frances Carden
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