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 makes his older brother furious. Peter is not chosen because he was too big, even though it is Peter who has to show Fudge what to do in the commercial.
Fudge's saving grace is his language, which is often hilarious. He can only express himself in a few words at a time, but those special words are so honest, they make people laugh. Fudge is a lovable young boy, who, in spite of his royal mishaps, is endearing and quite unique.
Mom is Peter and Fudge's mother. She is mostly a patient parent, who tolerates the antics of her youngest son, Fudge, and the anger and insistence of Peter. Mom is also a little distracted, allowing opportunities for Fudge to get into trouble. She forgives Fudge to a fault but praises Peter's attempts at trying to understand and to forgive his young brother. She uses Peter as an example of how Fudge should act, but this sometimes irritates Peter. She appears to be too lenient with Fudge, but in the end, she leans Peter's way and laughs with him as she agrees that Fudge is a handful of trouble.
Dad is Peter and Fudge's father. He works in an advertising company and is not often home. Dad is less attentive to his children, but when he is home with them, he is fun to be around. Dad...
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