Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Reader's Diary #1107- William Kotzwinkle and Glenn Murray, illustrated by Audrey Colman: Walter the Farting Dog

When I was a boy, we said "fart" in the house all the time. (Sad that we had reason to, but that was my dad.) It never occurred to me that someone might consider it a bad word until visiting at a cousin's house one day, when a foul stench was followed by the question, "Ew, who poppled?"

popples-no-1-back by excitingsounds, on Flickr
(Dear god! They can "pop in"?!)
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  excitingsounds

Poppled? What's with the cute name? That sh*t reeks!

Anyway, I thought of that story again this week when I read the epigraph to William Kotzwinkle and Glenn Murray's Walter the Farting Dog; "For everyone who is misjudged or misunderstood."

Uh, yeah. It's a farting dog. Don't get me wrong, that message is there, that everyone has something of value, and sometimes that thing of value is late to be appreciated, but it's a farting dog.

Fortunately, most reviews I read didn't belabour the "feel good message" but instead praise the humour. In other words, it's a fart, not a dang popple.

Walter, the farting dog, is adopted by a family who quickly realize that their dog has a flatulence problem. They try everything to stop it (except for one clever uncle who uses the dog to mask his own farts), to no avail. Resigning themselves to the fact that they can't take it anymore and that they'll have to get rid of him, they change their minds after Walter's farts manage to foil a burglary. (It's a bit of a happy ever after ending, when seriously, they still can't live like that. I give them 2 months before the dog's back at the SPCA and they've invested in an ADT Home Security System.)

I don't usually go in for fart jokes. They're usually juvenile and too easy. But it's a kids' book. And when there seems to be a goal to turn such books into overly-sentimental and/or melancholy pieces with "serious" artwork that no real kid enjoys, they're entitled to a few innocent fart jokes, done in silly, but creative pictures.

Not sure, however, that it needs sequels, but hey, the first one was a success, and I guess there's money to be made in natural gas. (Actually, that's not entirely fair. I have enjoyed some sequels and as, I've not read the Farting Dog sequels, I shouldn't assume the worst. Still, I've kind of not gotten over those If You Give Laura Numeroff a Paycheck books.)


Teena in Toronto said...

We were never allowed to say that word growing up.

Gord bought me this book around the time we got married.

Teena in Toronto said...

Just reread it ... thanks for reminding me I have it!