My posting yesterday on the avoidance of fart in the NYT Science Times on Tuesday missed one place where the paper hasn’t shrunk from the word at all: in the title of the 2001 children’s book Walter the Farting Dog (by William Kotzwinkle and Glenn Murray), which was on the NYT bestseller list for at least 75 weeks, its title untouched by the Gray Lady’s modesty.
I was reminded of the book (and the series it started) when Emily Rizzo noted the 2004 Latin translation in a posting on Facebook today. The cover of the original, the Latin translation (Walter Canis Inflatus), and, as a bonus, the French translation (Walter le Chien qui Pète):
The publisher’s blurb:
Warning: This book may cause flatulence. Walter is a fine dog, except for one small problem: he has gas. He can’t help it; it’s just the way he is. Fortunately, the kids Billy and Betty love him regardless, but Father says he’s got to go! Poor Walter, he’s going to the dog pound tomorrow. And then, in the night, burglars strike. Walter has his chance to be a hero. A children’s beloved classic, this story will have kids rolling on the floor with laughter. Adults are permitted to laugh too. [age level: 5 and up]
A longer version from Wikipedia:
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.
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.
… 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and Zombie Bums from Uranus); they have been subjected to occasional complaints and attempts to have the books withdrawn from libraries, and some librarians and bookstores have refused to carry the series.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 [especially boys] who might otherwise be hard to reach. In addition, many copies have been sold to adults.
Walter the Farting Dog (2001)
Walter the Farting Dog: Trouble at the Yard Sale (2004) (also released as Walter the Farting Dog Farts Again)
Rough Weather Ahead for Walter the Farting Dog (2005)
Walter the Farting Dog goes on a Cruise (2006)
Walter The Farting Dog: Banned From the Beach (June 21, 2007) (co-written with Elizabeth Gundy)
Walter, Canis Inflatus (2004)
There is a movie version in development, currently under the direction of Peter Farrelly, Tim Hill, and Bobby Farrelly; the Farrelly brothers’ movies are noted for their use of slapstick and toilet humor.
(Meanwhile, there are non-flatulence-related uses of fart in slang, as in old fart and to fart around. As is often the case with taboo vocabulary, these are viewed by many people as somewhat less offensive than literal uses.)