What kids want to read

Thanks to Matt Rosenberg and the Sacramento Bee, I am now au courant with a new best-seller for kiddies of all ages, Walter, the Farting Dog. Co-author Glenn Murray tells the Bee:

“You’ve also got to give kids something they want to read,” he said. “We use the word ‘fart’ because we know it attracts attention.”

Initially aimed at 4-to 8-year-olds, “Walter” and its plucky art have grabbed a crossover audience from 4 to 90. In the first story, Walter’s family is about to return him to the pound because of his antisocial habit. Walter understands people-speak, and he tries to hold in his gas. Just as he is about to explode, two burglars enter the family home, and he blasts them away with a heroic burst.

A stuffed Walter toy is being produced. It will make sounds but no smells.

About Joanne


  1. Walter Wallis says:

    I will collect a 3 cent royalty on each copy sold.

  2. Margaret says:

    Yuck. Four of my six kids are boys. Trust me, they don’t need any additional encouragement or inspiration to make fart noises. Or vomiting, burping or choking noises, for that matter. I sincerely hope this book is not lying at the top of the “New Children’s Books” pile when we go to the library this afternoon…

  3. Best selling childrens book in Japan deals with poo and where it goes.

  4. It’s useful to remember that you cannot judge a book [especially children’s books, which are notoriously easy critical prey] by its title, cover, superficial description, or whatever. Admittedly, some people will never want a book with farting in the title. On the other hand, people who know this book know that it’s a rather sweet story about loving someone who has an unlovable characteristic. Not an unimportant lesson. Also, the artwork is fabulous — head-and-shoulders above other books in similar style. [The sequel isn’t great, as so many sequels aren’t.]

  5. Hmmm, heir apparent to the Diaper Pail Kids?

    For some reason, kids really like funny books, and their sense of humor tends to be pretty gross at that age.

    My daughter loves the The Magic Treehouse series and the Junie B. Jones books. She also likes some of the classics — Misty of Chincoteauge, Black Beauty, etc.

  6. Captain Underpants is a hero in our hourse, so I just assume Walter will be welcomed with open arms (if not closed noses).

    There’s really something wonderful about reading a book to your kids that has no moral, no lesson, no underlying meaning. Once in a while, we all just want to laugh. And fart jokes is what does it for us.

  7. Margaret says:

    Oh, I have no objections to mindlessly fun stories, believe me. Dr. Seuss and Curious George are perennial favories in our house. My fourth- and fifth-graders were amazed a few weeks ago when they realized how funny those stories still are. But I still don’t think I know any boys of a certain age who need any additional encouragement to make bodily-function related jokes… 🙂

  8. Isn’t the emergence of books such as this on of the signs of the Apocalypse?

    (I should not have to not that I am teasing but just to be safe, I am teasing.)

  9. You know, Ross, I am right in the middle of reading a heavily annotated version of Revelations, and sure enough– right after Death riding on the pale horse– there comes the part about the small, hairy beast which emits noxious fumes from its posterior. The beast isn’t explicitly named Walter, but I think we can all read between the lines… 🙂

  10. Mark Odell says:

    Margaret wrote: right after Death riding on the pale horse– there comes the part about the small, hairy beast which emits noxious fumes from its posterior.

    I can recommend the novels of Terry Pratchett to span this range as well :-).

  11. Walter Wallis says:

    Back to Kipling and Emerson with me.
    And, of course, the Latin Green Eggs and Ham.

  12. “Everyone Poops” and “The Gas We Pass” are my kids’ absolute favorite books. And they’re my books. I’m either an ultra-cool Dad or a terrifically bad role model. Maybe both?

    Either way, farts are funny. 😉

  13. Obviously, little boys never really grow up. Grown men still laugh and snicker over bodily noises – just check out any stand-up comedy act or TV sit-com these days.

    Of course, if you guys actually had to deal with the consequences of these ‘bodily functions’ by children on a daily basis, they probably would be quite as funny…