Beth And Chrissi Do Kid-Lit 2018 – SEPTEMBER READ – Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

Published September 28, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

Living with his little brother, Fudge, makes Peter feel like a fourth grade nothing. Fudge is never far from trouble. He’s a two-year-old terror who gets away with everything–and Peter’s had enough. When Fudge walks off with Dribble, Peter’s pet turtle, it’s the last straw.

What did I think?:

Apologies for the smaller image than normal regarding the book cover but I couldn’t resist including this particular cover as the headline picture for my post as I’m pretty certain this was the actual cover I owned when I was a youngster! For anyone who might not already know, I love Judy Blume with every fibre of my being. She was such an important part of my childhood, she taught me so much about adolescence and how to cope with it and I was even lucky enough to meet her in person a few years ago when she attended YALC, a young adult’s literature convention that happens in London on a yearly basis. Chrissi has had to put up with my gushing admiration for Blume over the years and luckily for me, didn’t get too embarrassed at YALC when I came face to face with my idol (and made a fool of myself by dropping down into a curtsey, I was so overwhelmed with happiness!). Yes, the less said about that the better I think.

Her Royal Highness Judy Blume, author of Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing. Your majesty…

Chrissi was also incredibly gracious when I begged her to let me put some classic Blume on our Kid-Lit list this year and I’m so very glad that we did. Jumping back into her writing was so wonderfully nostalgic it made me feel all warm and cosy inside. Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing is probably written for the younger readership, i.e. middle grade fiction but the enjoyment I got from it was second to none. I think I might have mentioned in a previous post that when Chrissi and I were growing up, our father was in the army and we lived in Germany for about thirteen years. At one point, we didn’t have access to many English bookshops – in fact, there was only a very small one about half an hour’s drive away and we went there about once a month to spend our pocket money. The rest of the time we had to make do with the local school library or re-reading the books we currently had so we spent a LOT of time doing that. As a result, my Blume collection was unsurprisingly very well thumbed, dog eared and a bit worse for wear from the amount of times I re-entered the world of Peter, Fudge and company.

As I started to read Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing as an adult, all the old feelings I had about this story came rushing back and some of them were truly precious. I remembered whole incidents that I had completely forgotten (for example, the little girl who wets herself at Fudge’s birthday party) but what was most remarkable to me is how little my views had changed on the characters since I read it as a child. Reading it back then, I remember being exasperated almost up to the point of tears with the character of Fudge. I felt terribly sorry for Peter as he struggled with his painfully annoying younger sibling and even went so far as to question his parents love for himself after, initially, Fudge appears to be blatantly getting away with everything. I wondered if as an adult, I would feel more sympathetic towards Fudge and understand his predicament slightly better – in other words, he’s a small child and doesn’t have the skills yet to realise the consequences of his actions. Of course, I DO realise that but I have to admit….I’m still team Peter. There’s something about Fudge that really irks me, I can’t put my finger on it.

I sympathised with Peter, being the oldest sibling myself and can remember those times in my childhood where the responsibility of looking after my two younger siblings seemed occasionally to be quite a huge cross to bear. If you’ve been there, you might be familiar with the frustration of being blamed for something your sibling does because as the oldest: “you should know better/you should have been looking out for them.” Maybe this was why I connected with Peter so much? Anyway, this is a beautiful little tale about the scrapes Fudge gets into, how it affects his older brother and how one devastating incident with a pet turtle called Dribble ends up bringing the whole family closer together again. I smiled, I groaned, I got emotional and I loved every minute.

For Chrissi’s fabulous review, please see her blog HERE.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

COMING UP IN OCTOBER ON BETH AND CHRISSI DO KID-LIT: Nightbirds On Nantucket (The Wolves Chronicles #3) by Joan Aiken.

 

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20 comments on “Beth And Chrissi Do Kid-Lit 2018 – SEPTEMBER READ – Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

  • I love that you two read this together, and I enjoyed reading about your nostalgia, Beth! It made me nostalgic, too, as this book was/is also a favorite of mine! Judy Blume! I love that you curtsied. You never fail to make me smile! Were you also a Beverly Cleary fan? Ramona was a favorite of mine. ♥️

    • I know, I was so embarrassing, she’s like book royalty to me! Chrissi was there with me and just rolling her eyes in the corner haha 😂🙄 I never actually read any Cleary…..hmmm that gives me an idea what to suggest for kid lit 2019! 😁

  • Oh how I loved this book when I was littler! I will have to see if I can get this one on audiobook because it was a favourite and yet I haven’t thought about it in years. I am team Peter all the way. Thanks for the nostalgia factor. Arrr!
    x The Captain

  • Oh, Judy Blume!!! You’re giving me so much nostalgia!!! I loved her in my childhood too. I actually heard a really great anecdote about her recently from Tayari Jones (An American Marriage), when she was interviewed at the Sydney Writers Festival. Tayari was at another festival a few years ago, feeling pretty downtrodden because her publisher had just dropped her and she was struggling to sell her next book. Out of the blue, this “little old lady” comes and grabs her by the arm and says “I love your work, when’s your next book coming out?”, and Tayari’s all “Uhhh, probably never?”. The little old lady drags her off, across the venue, and introduces her to an agent, then disappears into the crowd.

    The agent ended up picking Tayari up as a client, and asked her “How do you know Judy?”. She said “Judy? I don’t know a Judy, what…?”. Turns out, that little old lady was Judy Blume! Isn’t that fantastic??

    • OMG that’s the best story in the universe!! Thank you so much for sharing that. From what Judy Blume was like at the event I was at, that sounds like something she would do. She was absolutely hilarious but so humble and unassuming. I adored her even more! 😍

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