Last summer, we received a mysterious donation in our book return drop box. It was a bright yellow children's book called Walter the Farting Dog, written by William Kotzwinkle and illustrated by Audrey Colman. It's the tale of a dog named Walter, who is rescued from the pound by a kind family, only to find himself in danger of being returned to the pound due to his uncontrollable and graphically illustrated flatulence (which persisted even after a heavy application of Low-Fart Dog Biscuits).
We loved it. The entire staff thought it was one of
the funniest things we'd ever read. We passed it back and forth amongst
ourselves, crying with laughter. Then we were forced to show it to
some of our patrons, who had inquired as to why we were all standing
around crying with laughter.
None of us had any idea who had bestowed this gem of
gassy brilliance upon us, but it was in pristine condition and we were
grateful to have it.
However, when it came to actually adding this work of
joy and light to our library's collection, Mrs. A put her foot down.
It's not that she was offended by the book--far from it, she thought it
was fantastic. Instead, Mrs. A was afraid the first parent whose child
came up wishing to check out a book about a farting dog, no matter how
well-told, would be deeply offended and begin raising a very different
kind of stink.
We begged and pleaded with Mrs. A to add it anyway,
pointing out that as much as we the adults adored fart-humor, kids adore
it ten times as much and would get an even bigger kick out of it.
Besides that, if patrons truly wished to be offended, there are plenty
of other books in the children's room they could find that were far
worse, (though, granted, most of these are in the Young Adults section
and many were added at my suggestion, but the point still stands). Mrs.
A remained steadfast in her refusal.
And so Walter the Farting Dog remained on a shelf behind the counter, with no call number, date due slip, book-wrap, nor bar code...
...that is, until last Thursday.
When I came into the liberry on Thursday, I found our
copy of Walter lying flat atop the hold bin cabinet, fully processed and
added into the system. I was ecstatic. When I inquired about Mrs. A's
change of heart, Mrs. C explained that one of our local highschool
English classes is requiring its students to choose a children's book to
read in class and one of those students had heard the legend of Walter
and called to request it. Mrs. A had no choice but to enter it into our
system, as it would be utterly unthinkable to simply loan it to him
otherwise. (Librarian logic, you see.)
When the kid arrived to pick it up, I thanked him
profusely for his choice of books and told him that he'd helped expand
our collection with quality material as a result.
Now I have to start a lobbying campaign to see if I can get Mrs. A to order the sequel, Walter the Farting Dog: Trouble at the Yard Sale, which was recently published.