In Judy Blume's Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, when Peter got the turtle named Dribble, did Peter know Fudge would do something to Dribble?

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

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In the very first chapter of Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, author Judy Blume craftily foreshadows Fudge will indeed do something mischievous to Peter's new turtle named Dribble and even hints to the reader that Peter is well aware of the fact.

Peter wins his tiny turtle named Dribble as a prize at the birthday party of his friend Jimmy Fargo. When Peter brings the turtle home and Fudge, his two-year-old brother actually named Farley Drexel Hatcher, first sees Dribble, Fudge's reaction is to say, "Ohhhhh ... see!" When Peter instructs Fudge that the turtle is only Peter's turtle and Fudge cannot touch the turtle, Fudge's innocent reaction is to recite, "No touch." Yet, Fudge's recitation of the command not to touch Dribble is followed by "crazy" laughter, or even maniacal laughter, signaling that, like a mad scientist, Fudge already has some scheme in mind for the turtle.  Blume's specification that Fudge "laughed like crazy" after reciting the command not to touch serves to foreshadow that Fudge will do something to the turtle in the near future; it also signifies that Peter already has his suspicions that the turtle is not safe.

Sure enough, by the end of the story, the turtle named Dribble goes missing. When Peter and their mother ask Fudge if he knows where Dribble is, Fudge replies "in tummy," meaning that Fudge swallowed the tiny turtle. Fudge is rushed to the emergency room, and though it is clear Fudge will survive, it also becomes evident that Dribble will sadly perish.

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