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Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing Paperback – April 5, 2007
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Passed on from babysitters to their young charges, from big sisters to little brothers, and from parents to children, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and its cousins (Superfudge, Fudge-a-mania, and Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great) have entertained children since they first appeared in the early 1970s. The books follow Peter Hatcher, his little brother Fudgie, baby sister Tootsie, their neighbor Sheila Tubman, various pets, and minor characters through New York City and on treks to suburbs and camps.
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing is the first of these entertaining yarns. Peter, because he's the oldest, must deal with Fudgie's disgusting cuteness, his constant meddling with Peter's stuff, and other grave offenses, one of which is almost too much to bear. All these incidents are presented with the unfailing ear and big-hearted humor of the masterful Judy Blume. Though some of her books for older kids have aroused controversy, the Hatcher brothers and their adventures remain above the fray, where they belong. (Peter's in fourth grade, so the book is suitable for kids ages 8 and older.) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Praise for Judy Blume and the Fudge books:
“Each [Fudge book] is packed with wacky earthy disasters that are her trademark and that children love to read about . . . Judy Blume has a knack for knowing what children think about and an honest, highly amusing way of writing about it.” —The New York Times
“It’s a pleasure to watch a talented author like Judy Blume consistently create books that reflect a
remarkable ability for combining humor with perceptive insight into a child’s world.” —Publishers Weekly
“Blume has her eye on the fine details of life, whether funny or frustrating.” —Booklist
“For anyone who has ever been ‘burdened’ by a pesky younger brother, there’s fast and funny
reading in this story.” —Children’s Digest on Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
“As usual, Blume’s humor and pitch-perfect ear for sibling rivalry and family dynamics will have readers giggling with recognition. Newcomers and Fudge fans alike will savor this installment in the well-loved series.” —Booklist on Double Fudge
“Fudge-a-Mania infects kids with giggles.” —BookPage on Fudge-a-Mania
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Top Customer Reviews
There was Peter. And then there was Fudge. Peter Hatcher is nine years old and has the awful job of dealing with almost-three-year-old Fudgie at all times. Fudge is what a polite person might call a lively child. To Peter, however, Fudge is a holy terror. If he's not sticking green food stamps to full suitcases or refusing to eat until Peter stands on his head, he's leaping from large rocks (to fly) and throwing tantrums in shoe stores. Peter is understandably jealous of the amount of attention Fudge attracts but at least he has his pet turtle Dribble to comfort him. Each chapter in this book is a small story about the daily interactions and adventures of the Hatcher boys. The final tale (the most important day of Peter's life, according to him) is probably one of the most memorable episodes in children's literature to date.
What Blume does right with this book is put everything entirely within the first person perspective of Peter himself. His tone of voice is pitch perfect. You empathize with him completely. When Fudge goes into his older brother's room and destroys his poster for school, you're just as inclined to see him punished as Peter is. And when Peter must deal with an awful loss at the book's end, you know just how he feels. Somehow, Blume has taken that prickly mind of the fourth grade boy, and made it completely understandable to the rest of the world. This is no small feat.
There are some small dated elements to the book. Mrs. Hatcher is, suffice to say, your stereotypical frantic mama. You begin to wish that she would grow a backbone once in a while instead of sobbing "my baby" whenever Fudge misbehaves in a dangerous way. As for Fudge, he's great in that he's awful. The worst possible three-year-old to be trapped in a family with. If there's a way to screw something up, he'll manage it. The age difference between a nine-year-old and a three-year-old is immense. Blume bridges that gap adeptly.
I state here and now, as loudly as my little lungs can carry sound (or my little fingers can type a review) that this is one of the best children's books in American literature. It has everything you could possibly want. Humor, adventure, a hero with many troubles, and a happy ending. For kids that have a Fudge of their own, Peter's problems will speak to them instantly. For kids that ARE Fudge, the book will strike them as an amusing romp through a world that is both familiar and unfamiliar. A must read for any kid you know.
I was a straggler kid, looking in from the outside and always longing for what he had. My assortment of teachers were either (a) fresh out of college and trying experimental forms of teaching (ugh), (b) had extreme chips on their shoulders and were organizing unions to stick it to the man, or (c) filing for divorce. This equated to bare walls and zero pizza parties. The agony!
Worst yet, we didn't read any of the cool books all the other classes were reading! I remember getting sick and tired of hearing of this baby named "Fudge" (of all the crazy names), and all the trouble that he got into, from some friends in other classes.
So now, all these years later, I finally understand what all the hype was about, and for once it wasn't overstated. I LOVED Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing! Peter Hatcher, the 9-year-old protagonist, has a pretty great setup. He lives in New York City, close to Central Park, he's loving his 4th grade class, has nice friends...except his 2-year-old little brother, Fudge, keeps ruining things. He's a the cutest little monster you ever saw.
I would have loved to have read this as a child, especially when my little sister came into the world when I was 8. I didn't like her. She was a cutie, but she just disrupted everything. I felt like no one understood where I was coming from, least of all my parents, who could see no wrong in anything that she did. That's the beauty of this book, because while it is hilarious and cute, it's not patronizing and adult. I love the relationship Peter has with his mom--she's a bit of a sarcastic wit, and I like that.
One thing that made me laugh was when Peter was describing how cautious he had to be about walking in Central Park alone because of muggers and dope pushers. I thought to myself, this is not the NYC of You've Got Mail. This is the NYC of Klute in 1972! I will definitely be continuing with the series, and very soon.
There's nothing to dislike about it because it was very funny that Fudge wanted to hug the bears.
As the 1st book of series, you can tell the sequel will also be good as this book.