Walter the Farting Dog

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Walter the Farting Dog is the titular character and a series of children's books written by William Kotzwinkle and Glenn Murray, and illustrated by Audrey Colman. The first book was published in 2001. By 2011, the first book had reported sales of more than 1.4 million hardcover copies, and the series had grown to five titles.[1]

Publishing history[edit]

Kotzwinkle and Murray conceived the idea for the first book in 1990, inspired by a real-life dog named Walter, whose owner fed him doughnuts and beer and who was prone to foul-smelling flatulence. With assistance from Kotzwinkle's wife, Elizabeth Gundy, they devised a story about a dog who overcomes two burglars with his smelly farts. Eleven years passed before they found a willing publisher, North Atlantic Books, and the right illustrator, Audrey Colman. The book was a success and reached the top of The New York Times children's best seller list. Beginning with the second book, the series has been published by Penguin Books, and Gundy began receiving credit with the third book.[2][3]

In 2008 it was reported that plans were underway to develop the series as a movie project for the Jonas Brothers.[4][5] As of summer 2011, the Jonas Brothers were no longer attached, and Tim Hill was in discussions to direct the film for producers Mary Parent and the Farrelly Brothers.[6]

Reception[edit]

The books have been criticized by some as an example of "poop fiction" for children (in the same vein as titles such as Captain Underpants and Zombie Bums from Uranus); they have been subjected to occasional complaints and attempts to have the books withdrawn from libraries, and some librarians and bookstores have refused to carry the series. On the other hand, librarians (and others) have credited the books with effectively attracting young readers who might otherwise be hard to reach.[1][7][8][9][10] In addition, many copies have been sold to adults.[11] White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten reportedly kept the book in his office as a "conversation-starter".[12]

The New Statesman's John Sutherland, comparing Walter to the 1956 children's classic Harry the Dirty Dog, commented that Walter "is to Harry as Portnoy was to sexually uptight Holden Caulfield - dirtier". Noting that the "books carry the epigraph 'For everyone who is misjudged or misunderstood'", he concluded that they are ultimately about promoting "self-esteem".[13]

Books in series[edit]

All are by William Kotzwinkle, Glenn Murray, and illustrated by Audrey Colman except as noted:

  • Walter the Farting Dog (2001) ISBN 1-58394-053-7 [14]
  • Walter the Farting Dog: Trouble at the Yard Sale (2004) ISBN 0-525-47217-7 (This book has also been released in the U.K. as Walter the Farting Dog Farts Again and as Walter the Farting Dog: Trouble at the Garage Sale in Australia.)
  • Rough Weather Ahead for Walter the Farting Dog (2005) ISBN 0-525-47218-5 (co-written with Elizabeth Gundy) (this book has also been released as 'Walter the Farting Dog and the Windy Day' in the U.K.)
  • Walter the Farting Dog Banned From the Beach (2007) ISBN 0525478124 ISBN 978-0525478126
  • Walter the Farting Dog Goes On A Cruise (2006) ISBN 0-525-47714-4 (co-written with Elizabeth Gundy)
  • Walter the Farting Dog: Banned From the Beach (June 21, 2007) ISBN 0-525-47812-4 (co-written with Elizabeth Gundy)
  • (NOTE: Elizabeth Gundy was actually a "silent but deadly partner" in the first two books as well.)

In other languages[edit]

The original Walter story is now available in more than a dozen languages, including French,[15] Spanish,[16] Dutch,[17] Icelandic,[18] Norwegian,[19] Korean,[citation needed] Japanese,[20] and Latin.[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Rocco Staino, "'Walter the Farting Dog' Turns 10". School Library Journal, September 1, 2011.
  2. ^ Cecelia Goodnow, "Co-author of popular 'Walter the Farting Dog' comes to town", Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 20, 2005.
  3. ^ Mike Thomas, "The not-so-sweet smell of success 'Walter' authors gas on about flatulent canine with new sequel, and readers can't get enough." Chicago Sun-Times, May 16, 2004.  – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  4. ^ Michael Fleming, "Jonas Bros. whiff Fox's 'Farting Dog': Disney rockers to make feature starring debut." Variety, October 27, 2008.
  5. ^ John Scott Lewinski, "Farting Dog Blasts Way to Big Screen", Wired, October 28, 2008.
  6. ^ Jay A. Fernandez, "'Hop' Director Tim Hill in Talks to Direct 'Walter the Farting Dog'". Hollywood Reporter, August 5, 2011.
  7. ^ Martha Irvine, "Farts, Underpants and runaway butts: authors say 'poop fiction' gets kids reading". Associated Press, April 30, 2004.  – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  8. ^ Cindy Stauffer, "Poop fiction; Children's books that wallow in bathroom humor are all the rage. But this quirky genre is raising a tricky question for school libraries, book stores and parents across Lancaster County: Is it harmless fun that encourages kids to read or does it just go too far?" Lancaster New Era, May 25, 2004.  – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  9. ^ Darin Zank, "Blaming the Dog: Grandpa Gets Wind of Book About Flatulence and Wants It Pulled From School Library." Wisconsin State Journal, January 30, 2004.  – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  10. ^ Zachary K. Johnson, "S.J. librarians do their homework on what's in demand." Stockton Record, February 3, 2007.  – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  11. ^ Beth Macy, "Sweet Smell of Success", The Roanoke Times, April 23, 2004.  – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  12. ^ Mark Silva, "Holding hot seat's handlebars: Bush's new chief of staff, Joshua Bolten, is a Harley man whose ability at steering 2nd-term agenda will be tested, the Tribune's Mark Silva notes." Chicago Tribune, March 30, 2006.  – via HighBeam (subscription required).
  13. ^ John Sutherland, "Blowing in the wind", New Statesman, June 12, 2006.  – via HighBeam (subscription required)
  14. ^ Walter the Farting Dog: Books: William Kotzwinkle, Glenn Murray, Audrey Colman. Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved on 2011-11-23.
  15. ^ Walter le chien qui pete: Walter the Farting Dog, French-Language Edition (French Edition) (9781583941041): William Kotzwinkle, Glenn Murray, Audrey Colman: Books. Amazon.com. Retrieved on 2011-11-23.
  16. ^ Walter el perro pedorrero: Walter the Farting Dog, Spanish-Language Edition (Spanish Edition) (9781583941034): William Kotzwinkle, Glenn Murray, Audrey Colman: Books. Amazon.com. Retrieved on 2011-11-23.
  17. ^ results/titledata. OPC4. Retrieved on 2011-11-23.
  18. ^ Gegnir. Gegnir.is (1994-11-06). Retrieved on 2011-11-23.
  19. ^ Ask - Dokument. Ask.bibsys.no. Retrieved on 2011-11-23.
  20. ^ Amazon.co.jp: おなら犬ウォルター: ウィリアム・コツウィンクル, グレン・マリー, 三辺 律子, オードリー・コールマン: 本. Amazon.co.jp. Retrieved on 2011-11-23.
  21. ^ Walter Canis Inflatus: Walter the Farting Dog, Latin-Language Edition (Latin Edition) (9781583941102): William Kotzwinkle, Glenn Murray, Audrey Colman: Books. Amazon.com. Retrieved on 2011-11-23.