Walter the Farting Dog has new company in Marty, a cat with star potential.
Mary Jane’s new cat is gassy (to put it mildly), but she loves him just the same. When a voice tutor visits, the whole family comes to recognize his true gift amid all the odor: After eating some grapes, French cheese and the “hand-painted sack” they came in, Marty plays “Au Clair de Lune” with his tush. Some experimentation follows. “First French! Now Italian! This testing reveals, / Marty’s audio output is inspired by his meals!” Marty stuns the crowd at the Gala Pet Show with fireworks (after eating franks and beans) before tooting “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” His fame established, Marty sets off on a world tour. While Ward would like children to believe that their pets’ flatulence is a gold mine waiting to be discovered, not many parents are likely to find even Marty to be worth much. Oddly divided verses and stumbling scansion make reading this aloud a bit of a challenge, and for once, Kellogg’s illustrations are not enough to save the tale. Marty’s wide-open green eyes alternate between giving him an always-surprised expression and just looking creepy, and his gas is shown as swooshes of color (and sometimes words) coming from his rear end.
Alas, toilet humor always seems to lure kids in, whether the story warrants it or not (Marty’s is the latter). (Picture book. 4-8)