Peter Warren Hatcher is the nine-year-old narrator of this young adult novel. He lives in an apartment building in New York City and is in the fourth grade. His biggest challenge in life is his two-year-old brother, who is constantly giving him trouble. Peter's younger brother calls him "Peetah" and will do almost anything that Peter tells him, except to stay out of Peter's room.
Peter is a gentle boy, who tolerates a lot of misery caused by his brother. Although Peter says he hates his brother, Peter really cares for Fudge and often finds him funny. Peter states, at one point in this story, that the only time he likes Fudge is when the young boy is sleeping.
Besides being irritated by his brother, Peter also often feels ignored. Visitors who come to his house dote on his brother because they think Fudge is cute. They think he is cute because he is little. So they give him presents that Peter thinks are neat. If Peter is given a present, it usually is something that he is either outgrown or already has. Sometimes Peter's parents appear to forgive Fudge's mistakes too easily and give into his temper tantrums too quickly. At least this is what Peter believes. Peter could never get away with doing the awful things that Fudge does. In addition, his parents often call on Peter to help change Fudge's behavior. They ask Peter to do things, like stand on his head, in order to entertain Fudge.
By the end of the story, however, because Peter has been so patient with his brother and so tolerant of his parents, his mother and father reward him with a very special gift that belongs to him alone. They even allow him to use a lock on his bedroom door to keep his younger brother out.
Although he is not the main character, this story often focuses on Farley Drexel Hatcher, or "Fudge," as he is known. Fudge is Peter's younger, two-year-old brother, who is extremely mischievous, daring, and ridiculously funny. Fudge represents the most entertaining aspect of this novel. He loves his brother, Peter, and tries to mimic him, in his own two-year-old way. This often gets him into a lot of trouble. He is also a very imaginative child, who, at one point, thinks he can fly. He destroys Peter's homework, though he thinks he is just making it prettier. He demolishes Peter's pet turtle, Dribble, by eating it, which lands him in the hospital.
Fudge also, at one point, cuts off most of his hair. And when he falls off the top of a jungle gym set, he loses his two front teeth. Despite this, he is chosen as the star of a commercial because he is so cute. Of course, this...
(The entire section is 1050 words.)