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Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

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Blume, Judy. ( 2007). Tales of a fourth grade nothing. New York, NY: Puffin Books. (Original work published in 1972)


Peter was overjoyed when he won a pet turtle at a friend’s birthday party. Peter has a very energetic little brother called Fudge. Keeping Fudge away from his pet turtle  is just one of many problems Peter faces in his life with Fudge. Peter struggles through a variety of hilarious situations with Fudge; including watching him at the park, keeping him away from his school projects, and shopping for new shoes.

Somehow Fudge always seems to come out ahead of Peter and the perceived injustice drives Peter crazy. Through a strange series of events Fudge even stars in a TV commercial. Peter’s trouble with Fudge hits all time high when Fudge eats his pet turtle. However, this cloud has a silver lining when Peter’s parents give him his very own puppy to replace the lost turtle.

My Impression

Amazingly, I have not read many books by Judy Blume, but I knew her work has a very good reputation. Another reason I chose this book because my 9 year enjoyed it. I was not disappointed! The characters in this book are so believable and honest. Peter thinks and talks like so many children I know. Children can easily identify with Peter. For the most part, Peter remains a good sport despite all the stress Fudge brings to his life. This book helps children see the humor in everyday life and provides a good example of a patient older sibling. I would recommend this book to children in 2nd through 5th grade.


A must. Nine-year-old Peter describes episodes in the life of his little brother, Fudge (2 1/2 / 3), which would count high as extenuating circumstances for a fratricide. There’s the refusal to eat, the chaotic birthday party, playing up on a shopping trip and in the cinema — and wait till you hear what he does to Peter’s pet turtle. Lots of comedy mixed with pathos as Fudge corners parental attention. Deceptively simple and easy to read, TV sit-com transposed to a book; sings are that, when kids are introduced to Judy Blume, she’s as popular here as in the US. 9-13. Category: Junior/Middle. . …., Piccolo, 95p. Ages 8 to 10.

Bowles, S. (1981, May). [Review of the book Tales of a fourth grade nothing, by Judy Blume].  Books for Keeps Vol. 8.  Retrieved from http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/

Nine-year-old Peter Warren Hatcher has resigned himself to losing the battle of sibling rivalry; his two-and-a-half-year-old brother Fudge manages to get all the attention — upstaging Peter in front of his father’s business associates, ruining the poster he has made for a school project, getting lost at the movies and (the unkindest cut of all) swallowing his pet turtle. Fudge’s antics are standard toddler attention-getters (and his selection as star of a TV commercial considerably overrates his potential as an entertainer), but Peter’s jaundiced observations exploit their risibility to the fullest. Yet the absence of any palpable jealousy or anger in Peter’s reportage causes it to degenerate into a series of momentarily amusing anecdotes, and, if not exactly a nothing, Peter is considerably less than might have been expected from the author of Then Again, Maybe I Won’t (1971).

Kirkus. (1972, March 1). [Review of the book Tales of a fourth grade nothing, by Judy Blume].  Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved from http://www.kirkusreviews.com/

Uses in the Library

It would be fun to set a goal for all of the 4th graders to read this book. If they all read the book, reward them with a class pet such as a tiny turtle or maybe a fish. Let the students vote on the name of it and make it a library helper responsibility to feed it when their class is in the library.


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