Great children’s books: Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

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In our opinion, “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing” by Judy Blume is one of the great children’s books. Melissa Gaynor explains why:

What You Need to Know:

• Judy Blume’s classic story of family life and growing up, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing was written more than 30 years ago and is still relevant today.
• The reader will get some insight into apartment life and what it was like to grow up in New York City.
• Most of the stories are a family affair, involving Peter, his challenging little brother, Fudge and their parents and most will have you laughing.
• Mild concerns were noted due to the mention of muggings and drug pushers (remember it was the 1970’s) although these are mentioned briefly. Peter does say that taking dope is dumb so there is a good message here as long as your reader understands what all that means.
• It is told in the first person, allowing the reader to get to know Peter and how he feels.
• A perfect selection for anyone entering fourth grade, this book is often used by teachers as part of the curriculum.
• If falls on the higher end of the Reader Senior level as there are no illustrations, there is less white space on the page and it addresses some more sophisticated topics.

Summary:

Peter Warren Hatcher, or Pee-tah as his brother likes to call him, is a fourth grader with a problem. It isn’t his mother or his father, or even school. As the reader learns, it is his brother, Farley Drexel, also known as Fudge who is always causing trouble. When Peter wins a turtle at his friend’s birthday party, he is responsible and takes good care of his new pet, Dribble, telling two and a half year old Fudge, with a bit of foreshadowing, not to touch him. As we learn from Peter, Fudge is always in his way and messing things up for him. Peter likes Fudge best when he is sleeping!… The relationships are extremely realistic, from Peter’s feelings to his mother’s responses. The reader will sympathize with Peter when Fudge gets all the attention because he is cute and little, making Peter feel like “nothing.”

Have your children read Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing? What did they think of the book?

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