Judy Blume’s Fudge books



The Fudge series, by Judy Blume – These five books by Judy Blume are so awesome. Now that I have an 11-year-old it’s high time that I revisited these books that I loved reading as a kid, and both of us dearly loved the experience. The books are:

Tales Of A Fourth Frade Nothing
Otherwise Known As Sheila The Great
Double Fudge

Each book is a precious artifact, a treasure of written perfection, and each character lives on and on, always larger than life (how many books do you read where not even one single character is interesting?); this applies not just the main protagonists Peter and Farley Drexel “Fudge” Hatcher either, as you really find yourself caring about long-lost cousin Howie (or “the Howies” as his whole family is called – this includes another Farley Drexel Hatcher, in this case nicknamed “Mini”, and the twin girls Flora and Fauna), about newborn Tootsie, even about the hapless mynah bird Uncle Feather (great name). Oh Lord yeah!!

The first two books are not really about Fudge at all, and are the more serious ones. The first one focuses on Peter Hatcher, about his problems dealing with his little three-year-old brother and eventually the fate of his pet turtle (an infamous episode in children’s literature if there ever was one), while the second book opens the lid on the complex life of Sheila The Great, who’s not as confident as her blustery character would lead you to believe. The later three books are mainly about Fudge and are highly episodic, lacking Blume’s characteristic take on the hard issues of childhood that can be found in her other books (and which appear in mild forms in the first two in this series); these books show Fudge between the ages of five and six. Throughout the books Peter maintains the tone of a long-suffering whiny kid without much of a sense of humor, while Fudge is just plain crazy.

Blume keeps things interesting across all five books by varying the locale of each book, which helps her introduce new situations and characters. In the first book Peter and Fudge (and occasionally Sheila) are in New York City, in the second book Sheila’s family take her off to the country for the summer (and, to balance the first book, we see very little of Peter or Fudge). In the third book the family moves off to Princeton for a year; in the fourth book they are back in New York, but then baby Tootsie comes along (and so do The Howies); then, in the last book, the characters are off to Maine for the summer as Blume ingenously finds a way to unite the Hatchers and Sheila Tubman’s family in a single tale (and in more ways than one too we find out!!).

There are so many favorite episodes that I can’t really pick just one, but my son and I never get tired of shouting “bonjour stupid” at each other in honour of Uncle Feather.

Fudge rules. Riot… riot!!!!

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