Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

Start Your Free Trial

Download Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Chapters 3-4 Summary

Chapter 3: "The Family Dog"

Peter learns to stand on his head in gym class, and when he demonstrates this skill for his family, they are all impressed. Fudge wants to do it too, so Peter tries to teach him, but every time the little boy turns upside down, he tumbles backwards.

Right around this time, Fudge inexplicably stops eating. Mother does not pay too much attention to this at first, but after three days, she gets upset. Mother and Father try all sorts of tricks to get their youngest child to eat, but nothing works. The only way they can get food into his mouth is when Peter stands on his head and makes him laugh, but Peter soon tires of having to do this at every meal, and refuses to continue. He thinks that Fudge will eat when he gets good and hungry, and that his parents should leave his little brother alone.

One evening, Fudge pretends that he is a dog and Mother, desperate to get him to eat, feeds him under the table. After a week of this, Peter starts to feel like they really do have a family dog, and imagines how nice it would be if they could trade Fudge in for a cocker spaniel. Mother takes Fudge to see four different doctors, but none of them seem very concerned. They agree with Peter that the child will eat when he gets hungry, and that until then, everyone should just leave him alone.

In desperation, Mother makes Fudge his favorite food, lamb chops; the rest of the family is having stew. Peter thinks it is pretty mean of his mother to make lamb chops just for his stubborn brother and not for him. Fudge, however, does not want lamb chops, and demands Corn Flakes. When Mother gives him the cereal, he refuses to eat that too.

By this time, Father has had enough. He tells Fudge, "You will eat that cereal, or you will wear it!" When the little boy still will not cooperate, Father takes both him and the cereal up to the bathroom, stands him in the tub, and dumps the cereal over his head.

Fudge screams and screams, but Father makes the rest of the family ignore him and go back downstairs to finish their dinner. Peter is glad because for once, his bratty little brother is getting what he deserves. The next day, Fudge sits at the table and eats his meal decorously, without a word.

Chapter 4: "My Brother the Bird"

The Hatcher family lives near Central Park, and Peter is sometimes allowed to go there to play with his friend, Jimmy Fargo. There is a girl in his class at school who also lives close by; her name is Sheila, and Peter finds her unbearably annoying. Peter and Jimmy have a special spot at the Park where they like to play, but one day, when they arrive, Sheila is there. When they ask her to go somewhere else, she refuses. While they are arguing, Fudge, followed by Mother, comes tearing down the path, chasing pigeons.

Sheila runs over to Mrs. Hatcher, and asks if she can watch Fudge for awhile. Mother would like to run home for a minute to turn on the stove, but she hesitates to take Sheila up on her offer, because she has never left her youngest son with anyone before. To Peter's chagrin, she asks him and Jimmy to help Sheila watch Fudge for a little while; to Peter's...

(The entire section is 884 words.)