Walter the Farting Dog is the title character of 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, 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.
In 2008, it was reported that plans were under way to develop the series as a movie project for the Jonas Brothers. 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.
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and Zombie Bums from Uranus); they have been subjected to occasional complaints and attempts to have the books withdrawn from libraries, and some librarians and bookstores have refused to carry the series.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. In addition, many copies have been sold to adults.White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten reportedly kept the book in his office as a "conversation-starter".
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".
Books in series
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 
- 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 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
The original Walter story is now available in more than a dozen languages, including French,Spanish,Dutch,Icelandic,Norwegian,Korean,Japanese, and Latin.
- ^ a b Staino, Rocco (September 1, 2011). "'Walter the Farting Dog' Turns 10"". School Library Journal.
- ^ Goodnow, Cecelia (May 20, 2005). ""Co-author of popular 'Walter the Farting Dog' comes to town"". Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
- ^ Thomas, Mike (May 16, 2004). "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. - via HighBeam (subscription required).
- ^ Fleming, Michael (October 27, 2008). "Jonas Bros. whiff Fox's 'Farting Dog': Disney rockers to make feature starring debut". Variety.
- ^ Scott Lewinski, John (October 28, 2008). "Farting Dog Blasts Way to Big Screen". Wired.
- ^ Fernandez, Jay A. (August 5, 2011). "'Hop' Director Tim Hill in Talks to Direct 'Walter the Farting Dog'"". The Hollywood Reporter.
- ^ Irvine, Martha (April 30, 2004). "Farts, Underpants and runaway butts: authors say 'poop fiction' gets kids reading". Associated Press. - via HighBeam (subscription required).
- ^ Stauffer, Cindy (May 25, 2004). "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. - via HighBeam (subscription required).
- ^ Zank, Darin (January 30, 2004). "Blaming the Dog: Grandpa Gets Wind of Book About Flatulence and Wants It Pulled From School Library". Wisconsin State Journal. - via HighBeam (subscription required).
- ^ Johnson, Zachary K. (February 3, 2007). "S.J. librarians do their homework on what's in demand". Stockton Record. - via HighBeam (subscription required).
- ^ Macy, Beth (April 23, 2004). "Sweet Smell of Success". The Roanoke Times. - via HighBeam (subscription required).
- ^ Silva, Mark (March 30, 2006). "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. - via HighBeam (subscription required).
- ^ Sutherland, John (June 12, 2006). "Blowing in the wind". New Statesman. - via HighBeam (subscription required).
- ^ Walter the Farting Dog: Books: William Kotzwinkle, Glenn Murray, Audrey Colman. Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved on 2011-11-23.
- ^ 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.
- ^ 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.
- ^ results/titledata. OPC4. Retrieved on 2011-11-23.
- ^ Gegnir. Gegnir.is (1994-11-06). Retrieved on 2011-11-23.
- ^ Ask - Dokument. Ask.bibsys.no. Retrieved on 2011-11-23.
- ^ Amazon.co.jp: , ?, , . Amazon.co.jp. Retrieved on 2011-11-23.
- ^ 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.