In the story, Charles, Laurie's mother thinks that kindergarten is a bad influence on Laurie. When Laurie comes home to relate the misadventures of a certain badly behaved classmate named Charles, Laurie's mother is alarmed.
Apparently, Charles has gotten into trouble five days in a row. On the first day of kindergarten, he is spanked by the teacher for being fresh. On the second day, Charles is also spanked, this time for hitting the teacher. On the third day, Charles bounces a see-saw on the head of a little girl. This leaves her bleeding, and Charles has to stay inside during the whole of recess. On the fourth day, Charles has to stand in the corner because he can't seem to sit still during story-time. On the fifth day, Charles is deprived of blackboard privileges because he threw chalk at his classmates.
With the bad behavior of the unfortunate Charles in full display, Laurie's mother feels that kindergarten is too violent and unsettling for her young son. Laurie's usage of bad grammar also convinces her that kindergarten is a bad influence. Meanwhile, her husband attempts to reassure her that everything will turn out for the best. He reasons that Laurie is bound to meet characters like Charles at some point in his life and argues that his young son might as well meet them sooner rather than later.
As time continues and Charles' related antics become more and more fantastic, the whole family begin using Charles' name as an euphemism for any mishaps, misbehavior, or bad attitudes at home. However, when Charles begins to exhibit a string of good behaviors, no one is more surprised than Laurie's mother. Laurie's father, who originally advises Laurie's mother to patiently wait out the full development of affairs at the kindergarten, is just as curious. Eventually, both become intent on meeting this mysterious Charles' mother.
Laurie's father suggests that they should invite Charles' mother home for tea after the PTA meeting so that they can finally meet her and ask her about her son. The story ends on a humorous note when Laurie's mother finds out that there is no such little boy named Charles at the kindergarten.