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Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

Last updated Monday, July 25, 2005

Author: Judy Blume
Date of Publication:
ISBN: B0002TX52O
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Aug. 2005

Synopsis: Passed on from babysitters to their young charges, from big sisters to little brothers, and from parents to children, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and its cousins (Superfudge, Fudge-a-mania, and Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great) have entertained children since they first appeared in the early 1970s. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing is the first of these entertaining yarns. Peter, because he's the oldest, must deal with Fudgie's disgusting cuteness, his constant meddling with Peter's stuff, and other grave offenses, one of which is almost too much to bear. All these incidents are presented with the unfailing ear and big-hearted humor of the masterful Judy Blume. Though some of her books for older kids have aroused controversy, the Hatcher brothers and their adventures remain above the fray, where they belong.

Note to readers:
•  This is a chapter book that you won?t be able to finish. Aim to read through the end of chapter 3 (although you do not need to reach that point), and tell the children that the book will be placed into their library if they would like to check it out and read the rest.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What do you think is a ?fourth grade nothing?? What do you think this book will be about? Have you ever felt like a ?fourth grade nothing?? What happened?
•  Is the face on the cover happy? Sad? Scared? Does that give you a clue about what the book will be about? Remove the book cover. Now what do you think?
•  Who here has read a book by Judy Blume before? What book was it?
•  What do you like about fourth grade? What don?t you like?
•  Do you have younger brothers or sisters? Older? Do you like them? Do you ever fight?
•  How do you keep your belongings private from your family?
•  What do you think it would be like to have a three year old brother or sister?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Some concepts they may not be familiar with: elevator operator, green stamps, advertising business, monkey business (why is it call it that). Ask them what they think it is first.
•  Have you ever been to New York City? Where is it?
•  How did Peter act when the Yarby?s were in the house? Would you have acted the same, or differently?
•  Compare the actions of Peter and the Yarbys, in the context of ?old fashioned good manners.? Are there different expectations of children and adults in terms of manners?
•  Have you ever been given a present that you didn?t want? How did you react?
•  Do you have a pet at home? If not, what would you want as a pet? What would you name it?
•  Why do you think Peter?s parents treat him differently from Fudge?

Craft ideas:
•  Do a self portrait of you with some of your favorite people/ pets/ possessions.
•  Bring ahead option: bring styrofoam bowls. Make a turtle by turning the bowl upside down and adding a head, feet and tail.
•  Now that Peter?s dad has lost the account, draw an ad for Juicy-O.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!