Sunday, September 23, 2012

Review: Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

Well first of all, sorry I haven't posted a book review in almost two weeks! I started going to my Kindergarten classroom three days a week and I'm super busy! I had to stay home a few days though because those nasty little kid germs got me and I'm sick. :( I've been stocking up on vitamins for a while and they still got through!

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

Peter Hatcher has a great life, except for his little brother Fudge. Fudge gets into all sorts of trouble! He's three years old and is ruining Peter's life. Peter always has to help his parents fix whatever Fudge's problem is. When Fudge refuses to eat, Peter has to stand on his head to make him laugh so his parents can shove food in his mouth. When Fudge won't open his mouth at the dentist, the dentist asks Peter to show Fudge how to do it. When Fudge won't listen to directions, Peter has to show him how to follow directions. And Peter is tired of it. Fudge is always messing up things around the house and getting into Peter's room to play with Dribble, Peter's pet turtle. And then Fudge finally does something Peter just won't forgive.

I thought this book was pretty funny. Some of the things Fudge got into were a little ridiculous, but it was still entertaining. When the boys' mother had a third birthday party for Fudge with three other three years old, I couldn't imagine how that would turn out well. Especially without the other children's parents there to help! But Peter was a good sport about most things in this book and I think that's important for older children to see.

My entire Reading Methods class of future Elementary School teachers is reading this book as a class project. We will be blogging or emailing, I'm not sure, with a fourth grade class in Indiana who is also reading this book! I'm very excited for this project. It should be a lot of fun to talk about this book with them and it will be great to read what they think about the book seeing as they are in the fourth grade.

I'd never read this book before, but while doing a little research, I realized I read Otherwise Known As Shelia the Great, the book that came before Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. It features Peter's rival, Shelia Tubman. Following Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing in 1972, Judy Blume published a series of books revolving around the same characters. This became the Fudge series which included Superfudge (1980), Fudge-A-Mania (1990), and Double Fudge (2002).

Judy Blume has published many controversial books in her time as an author. Her books, Forever (1975), Blubber (1974), Deenie (1973), Are You There God, It's Me Margaret? (1970) and Tiger Eyes (1981) were all on the ALA's 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books 1990-1999. Forever, Blubber, Tiger Eyes, and Are You There God, It's Me Margaret? also showed up on the ALA's 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books 2000-2009. But I have to say, I've only read Forever, but I loved that book when I was in high school. Check out Judy Blume's website for her response to censorship. Who really suffers when books are taken off the shelf? The children do. 

Many, if not all, of Judy Blume's books have been reissued with updated covers and illustrations, much like Beverly Cleary's Ramona and Her Father and Socks which I have previously reviewed. I think this is important to show that even though some of her books are controversial, they are still important in children's literature and they are timeless stories in which children can relate. Below are some of the older book covers for Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.


  1. I love Judy Blume books!

  2. I have never read Judy Blume, but I am going to ask my students if they have and what they thought!