Every 4th grade school year I started out with Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing as our first novel unit. It is such a humorous book, yet still opens itself to many discussions and activities that can be tied to the curriculum and standards. Children can so relate to the main character, Peter Hatcher, and his struggles to get through the everyday life of a typical 4th grader. Throw in the antics of the younger brother, Fudge, and you are in for a treat! I have never had a child tell me they didn’t enjoy this book. Most all are fighting over who gets to read the sequel, Superfudge, as soon as we finish the unit!
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing is one of my favorite novels. I loved it as a child and I still love it as an adult. I so enjoyed sharing this story with my students and my own kids. There are so many ways that kids can identify with the main character, Peter Hatcher. Peter seems to have that streak of bad luck that hits us all, at one time or another. Anyone who has a younger sibling (or a toddler of their own) can completely identify with the challenges that Peter’s brother Fudge, creates for the family.
Some elements of the story can be a bit dated, it was written in 1972 after all, but this does not seem to bother my students in the least bit! Being from Omaha this book also opens up the discussion of what it is like to live in a metropolis such as New York City. My students always enjoy discussing how Peter’s life compares to theirs and I am sure that is even more pronounced for students in more rural areas.
I highly recommend using Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing in your classroom. Not only is it an informative book, but it is also fun! Students will love reading this book and sharing the humor together.
I am a big advocate for using humorous books to spark a love of reading, especially with boys. Students can extend their love of Peter and Fudge by reading the sequels Superfudge, Fudge-A-Mania, and Double Fudge.
Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!
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