Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

by Judy Blume

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Discussion Topic

Key events and actions of the main character in "Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing."

Summary:

In Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, main character Peter Hatcher navigates the challenges of fourth grade while dealing with his mischievous younger brother, Fudge. Key events include Peter winning a pet turtle, Fudge's antics disrupting Peter's life, and Fudge swallowing Peter's turtle, leading to a climactic moment where Peter's patience is tested and he learns valuable lessons about family and responsibility.

Expert Answers

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What are the important events in Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing?

Different readers are likely to have slightly different lists of what the important events in this story are, but I think most lists will include Peter winning his pet turtle, Dribble. Follow that event with Peter telling his brother, Fudge, to never touch Dribble. That rule doesn't work out, as Fudge eventually swallows Dribble. The doctors get Dribble out, and Fudge is fine, but Dribble is dead. Dribble's arrival and death function as "bookends" for the important events in the story. I would pick two or three Fudge events that stand out to you as particularly meaningful or funny and add them to your list. I've always liked Fudge climbing to the top of the jungle gym, jumping off, and falling on his face. The three-year-old birthday party is also quite memorable. I would also include Fudge ruining Peter's school project as an important event.

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What are the important events in Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing?

Ten important events that happen in Judy Blume's novel Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing will likely center on Peter, his turtle, his little brother Fudge, and their family.

One important event occurs right away. In the first chapter, Peter wins a small turtle, Dribble, at Jimmy's birthday party. The presence of Dribble leads to additional important events. At the end of the story, Fudge swallows the turtle, and it passes away. Before Fudge consumes the turtle, Fudge displays the turtle to one of his father's advertising clients. The turtle, along with Fudge's behavior, causes his dad to lose key business. Later on, Fudge helps his dad keep a client because they want to put Fudge in their TV commercial.

For a fifth important event, try Mrs. Hatcher's decision to leave Fudge in the care of Peter, Jimmy, and Sheila. The three wind up chasing each other around. Fudge is left unsupervised. He flies off the jungle gym and loses lots of teeth. The playground incident links to a sixth important event: a fight between Peter and his mom. In chapter 7, a seventh important event happens when Fudge defaces Peter's poster. This time, Mrs. Hatcher handles things differently. She takes out her anger on Fudge instead of Peter.

For three more important events, consider how Peter helps Fudge make it through the previously mentioned TV commercial, how Dribble impacts Fudge's birthday party, and how Dribble's death results in a new pet.

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What actions does the main character take in Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing?

Written by successful children’s author Judy Blume, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing is the first novel in the “Fudge Series.” The main character in the book is nine-year-old Peter Warren Hatcher. Peter has a two-and-a-half-year-old brother named Farley Drexel Hatcher who is known as “Fudge.” The book is told from Peter’s point of view and is about his problematic relationship with his little brother, Fudge.

Fudge is a mischievous two-year-old and manages to outdo even the most troublesome toddler with his never-ending antics, driving poor Peter to the point of despair. Peter’s parents dote on Fudge, and Fudge hardly ever earns any punishment for his wrongdoings, which only adds to Peter’s frustration with his little brother.

Fudge is prone to temper tantrums, manages to ruin several of Peter’s activities, destroys Peter’s school projects, gets lost at a movie theater, falls and chips his teeth, and even gets his father fired from an important account. But one of the main problems Peter has is that Fudge won’t leave Peter's pet turtle, Dribble, alone.

When it is discovered that Fudge has swallowed poor Dribble, effectively ending the little turtle’s life, Peter is too upset about his pet to worry about Fudge. At the hospital, Peter realizes that perhaps he does love his little brother after all, and he tries to be more patient with Fudge. Peter does struggle with jealousy when Fudge is showered with attention and gifts after his hospital stay, still believing that his parents favor his little brother and neglect Peter.

His parents are pleased with Peter’s continued patience with Fudge and, feeling sorry for the loss of his pet turtle, decide to get him a dog. Fudge’s traumatic experience with the turtle has apparently taught him a lesson, and he is insistent that the dog is Peter’s, not showing any inclination toward swallowing Peter’s new pet! The relationship between the brothers improves at the end of the book because Peter’s parents appear to care about Peter as well, and Fudge is making an attempt at better behavior.

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