When does Peter feel like his mother only cares about Fudge in Judy Blume's Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, and what does she do to make it up to him?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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In Judy Blume's The Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, one time in which Peter felt like his mother only cared about Fudge is when they go shoe shopping, and Fudge throws a tantrum.

Peter is very quick to request his new pair of brown loafers, and the customer service representative, Mr. Berman, brings out a pair of saddle shoes for Fudge as well. However, as soon as Fudge sees Peter with his new loafers, he refuses to try on the saddle shoes because Fudge wants shoes "[l]ike Pee-tah's" (p. 40). However, Peter's shoes don't come in Fudge's size. As a solution, Mrs. Hatcher asks Mr. Berman to bring out a pair of saddle shoes in Peter's size for Peter to try on. When Peter hears this, he protests, saying, "Oh no! ... You're not going to get me to wear saddle shoes," but his mother explains they are only trying to trick Fudge into thinking Peter is getting the exact same shoes as Fudge (p. 41). Once the shoes are boxed up and ready to be purchased, they'll swap the saddle shoes for Peter's loafers. Peter at first still refuses, saying, "That's mean ... . You're taking advantage of [Fudge]" but finally agrees so they can go get lunch (p. 41).

By using Peter to trick Fudge into good behavior, Mrs. Hatcher unintentionally makes Peter feel like she doesn't care. However, she makes it up to him by allowing him to secretly buy the loafers. She also makes it up to him by treating him to a "hamburger with everything on it and a chocolate milk shake," whereas Fudge only got the "kiddie special" (p. 42).

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