My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Summary (adapted from Goodreads)
Life with his little brother, Fudge, makes Peter Hatcher feel like a fourth grade nothing. Whether Fudge is throwing a temper tantrum in a shoe store, smearing mashed potatoes on the walls at Hamburger Heaven, or trying to fly, he’s never far from trouble. He’s an almost three-year-old terror who gets away with everything, and Peter’s had it up to here! How can he get his parents to pay attention to him for a change?
The escapades of Farley Drexel Hatcher (aka Fudge) never fail to entertain. Years ago I read SuperFudge, another book in this series, to my 2nd grade class. Today I just finished reading Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing to my third grade class. Throughout both books, each classroom of students was riveted. Their eyes went wide in anticipation of every mischief that Fudge would cause. They gasped and groaned at each of Fudge’s bad choices. Most memorably, they laughed through it all.
As a mother of a two year old myself, this book felt as real as realistic fiction can get. The older brother, Peter, is an entertaining narrator. Even as an adult I can feel for him in his struggle to endure the trouble his little brother causes. The events in the story are pretty normal occurrences in most lives so readers can connect to the premise and plot easily. But despite the normalcy of the events Fudge keeps it interesting and hilarious.
The book was written 30+ years ago, but it’s not dated. Students in 2017 still relate. Boys and girls alike love these books.
It’s the perfect read-aloud with expressive dialogue and plenty of places to pause and breed the suspense. It was a classic when I was in third grade and it’s still a classic today.
Age Recommendation: The narrator is in fourth grade in this book, so obviously that would be an ideal age to read it, but my third grades devoured it, and 2nd graders loved another book in the series. I think even as young as kindergarten would love this book as a read aloud. The reading level is probably closer to third or fourth grade. As an adult it’s a joy to read as well, lots of nuances that only more mature readers will pick up on.
Appropriateness: There is some digestive talk, sibling rivalry, and even a case of cooties. It’s just all so true to life, but with a hilarious “glass half full” perspective. No worries about content with this one. It is a perfect book to read aloud.
Other Book Recommendations: If you like this book you’d better read Superfudge , Fudge-a-Mania, and Double Fudge to finish of the series (both also by Judy Blume). You would probably also like the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary, Skinnybones by Barbara Park, Holes by Louis Sachar, Frindle by Andrew Clements, The Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman by Louise Plummer, The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt, and Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath.
Classroom Use: My students will be doing book reports on this book. There are many faceted and well rounded characters that would make for great study material, so for our book reports they will be making a “Me Bag” for one of the characters. They will put 7 to 10 items into a bag that some how relate to or describe that character. They will introduce the character to the class by telling why each item was included in the bag.