Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

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First edition, US hardcover.

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing is a young adult book written by Judy Blume and first published in 1972 as the first book in the Fudge series. The story is told from the perspective of nine-year-old Peter Warren Hatcher who lives with his mother, father, and younger brother Farley Drexel Hatcher, whom everyone calls "Fudge." It describes how Peter is often annoyed at how everyone dotes over his younger brother despite all the mischief he gets into.

I first read this book in grade school and then again with my mother as a bedtime book. I re-read it as an adult, but didn't like it as much. I had a hypothesis that Fudge was autistic, which would explain why he gets away with such blatant disobedience, and it just wasn't explicitly described in the book because Peter didn't view his brother as autistic. I was disappointed to find Fudge is really just an undisciplined brat.

Review

Good

  • The book nicely captures the frustration felt to be a child with an obnoxious younger sibling.
  • There are several funny moments in the book, like when Peter calls Fudge "Fang" after he loses his front teeth.

Bad

  • I understand that the story is told from Peter's point of view, so his parents probably aren't as lenient with Fudge as is described, but it's still pretty infuriating when such a disobedient child isn't disciplined. Through a lot of the book, I kept thinking to myself, "punish your stupid child!"
  • It's not very believable that small child could swallow a turtle whole, even a baby turtle.

Ugly

  • Nothing.

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