Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing is a children's book published in 1972, and is to date one of author Judy Blume's most famous works. It is the first book in the Fudge Series, which follows the experiences of a 9-year-old fourth grader named Peter Hatcher who finds his toddler brother Fudge's antics unbearable. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing introduces young readers to the Hatcher family, to Peter, and to Fudge, all of whom live in New York City, and each chapter covers a different one of Peter's experiences, many of which include mayhem created by his brother Fudge. The book is narrated from a first-person perspective, and gives readers good insight into Peter's feelings and emotions as he tells his story.
This book is geared at younger audiences, in particular elementary-aged children who are getting comfortable with longer chapter books. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, along with the other books in the Fudge Series, is often used by elementary school teachers in language arts curriculums, as it is an age-appropriate and fun, exciting story that engages students and instills in them a love of reading. Teachers can pair many other activities with the reading of this book, including math games related to the situations Fudge got the family into, or even cooking, teaching students how to make fudge themselves. Older students can discuss author Judy Blume and her motivations for writing this book.
Above all, this book is a timeless hit with young readers because of its relatability. Readers with siblings can understand the frustration that Peter goes through as he deals with his little brother, and the Hatcher family resembles many families across the U.S. and the wider world. The book also leaves readers with strong, positive messages about the importance of family, and also about the responsibility of being an older sibling, how you can adapt to difficult situations, and how to find a silver lining in any bad experience. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing has remained popular for nearly 50 years, has received numerous children's choice awards, and no doubt will continue to be enjoyed long into the future.