Friday, September 17, 2010

Banned Books Week Challenge Picture Book Walter the Farting Dog

Walter the Farting Dog by, William Kotzwinkle and Glenn Murray
                                        Illustrated by Audrey Colman

Objections to Walter the Farting Dog is that it mentions the word fart 24 times.  I could only find it 20 times, but hey maybe I missed it on the four times I went through it.

The dedication has an oval shaped grey and white dog with bright blue eyes behind bars, Walter at the pound, looking so pitiful.  It reads  "For everyone who's ever felt misjudged or misunderstood."  And those sad blue puppy dog eyes look out at you begging you to read the book.  Now who could resist that?  I guess the person that counted how many times the word fart or some version of it was used and that includes the front flap and title page.

Well, obviously Walter has a gas problem.  I understand.  I live with three human males and two male dogs.  They all fart.  I've been known to do it, too.  It's like the book Everybody Poops.  I didn't see that on the banned books list.  Wonder why that's acceptable?  I digress.  Walter has a problem to the extreme.  They try different food, take him to the vet, give him a bath, everything to make him smell better.  But nothing helps his gaseous problem.  He farts a lot and the odor is terrible.  Betty and Billy love him anyway but Daddy insists he has to go back to the pound.  Walter, depressed eats a 25lb bag of fart free biscuits which made him have to fart even more, but determined not to fart, he holds the gas in despite the excruciating pain.  And that's how the burglars find Walter and tie his snout up so he can't bite or bark.  He saves the day in a much more unconventional way.

One thing my kids noticed about this book, besides laughing at the word fart, was there was a hidden spider on each two spread page.  They had more fun looking for that than the word fart.  After we read it a few times, the novelty of the word fart wore off and all the subsequent books weren't purchased because of the Fart aspect so much as because they loved the character.  We even have a stuffed animal that is supposed to make a noise that sound like a fart, but it sounds more like a raspberry. 

I don't know who the word police are they came up with what is a bad word and what isn't so  I don't know if fart is a bad word.  In my house growing up, it was.  At a boyfriend's house it was a word they used to tease each other with.  To some children they may hear it so often it isn't even funny.  To others it may be like hearing one of the biggies (it is a picture book).  So in my opinion, a parent can choose to read it or not, but it's a cute book and whether kids get the lesson or not, it's really fun to say fart so many times and see kids giggle so much.  Say underwear and see if you don't get the same reaction.

Who is this for?  Any group who has someone different in their group that doesn't fit in.  I'd say that means just about all of us.

Heather in Sandwich


  1. To be honest to use the word that many times does seem rather OTT and certainly after the first few times I should imagine that it looses any sense of being at all funny. A great post and so true. Anyway,just to let you know that today (18th September) I was tagged and now your 'IT. To find out more visit my blog, thanks.

  2. My mom thought fart was a bad word but not a BAD word. She preferred the word "breezer" for fart which I think is ten times more gross. Anyway, I still can't believe that folks challenge this book. Don't they realize farts are fun?

  3. Oh also! Feel free to enter your review in our Banned Books Giveaway!

  4. Yes, like I said, it quits being a bad word a few pages in. I didn't mention how wonderful the illustrations for this book are nor that there are about 6 or 7 follow up titles to this book. It's actually quite a wordy book and as I said, I included the word Fart from the title, the front flap, the title page and on the back of the book. So it was really used less than 20 times in the book. It really is a funny story especially if you live with as many males as I do. I don't think I saw it in our old elementary school library. And I truly doubt the library here in Sandwich at our school has it- but think about this, our school library covers K-8th grades. This is the first year, so I've heard, that we've had a librarian for two years in a row. I'm curious to see if she's had any complaints about what's on the shelves. I'll ask her.



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