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Literature / FUDGE

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Just being a part of this family is an adventure in and of itself!
The Fudge Series is a series of children's books written by Judy Blume. The books are a general mixture of Slice of Life and comedy, following the protagonist Peter Hatcher navigating the trials and tribulations of boyhood alongside his Annoying Younger Sibling Farley, aka the eponymous "Fudge", their mother Anne, father Warren, and later on, baby sister Tootsie.

Books in the series:

  • Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (1972)
  • Superfudge (1980)
  • Fudge-a-Mania (1990)
  • Double Fudge (2002)

Also related is Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great (1972), which focuses on Peter's neighbor Sheila Tubman with only a brief appearance by Peter.

Not to be confused with the Tabletop RPG of the same name, which is a precursor of Fate.

A short-lived live-action television series loosely based on the books aired on ABC's Saturday morning lineup from 1995-96. Many episodes were adapted from chapters from Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Superfudge; other episodes featured original storylines. The series was headlined by a TV movie based on Fudge-a-Mania.

An animated movie based on Superfudge is currently being developed by the Russo Brothers for Disney+.

FUDGE provides examples of:

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  • Accidental Art:
    • In Fudge-a-Mania, baby Tootsie accidentally walks through spilled paint and makes little footprints across one of Jimmy's father's canvases. Peter expects him to be mad, but he instead takes it as inspiration and decides to make a series of "Baby Feet" paintings with her as a result. It gets a callback in Double Fudge, where Peter's family gets invited to a showing of Mr. Fargo's work, including the now wildly popular Baby Feet paintings. Peter even muses that Tootsie should at least get a commission since technically she's the one making the paintings.
    • There's also Anita's Anger, an abstract painting based around when Jimmy's father's (now-ex) wife angrily threw paint at him, missed and hit a blank canvas.
  • Actually Pretty Funny:
    • In Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, the family goes to a restaurant, and Fudge annoys everyone by misbehaving. Peter's mother scolds him, and Fudge sings "Eat it or wear it!" and dumps his dish of peas over his head. Peter, who was previously annoyed and embarrassed by his brother, can't stop laughing, and ends up choking as a result.
    • Jimmy has this reaction when Uncle Feather says, "Bonjour, stupid" to him. After getting into a repeating argument with him, Jimmy says he is some bird.
    • Fudge initiated conflict with his kindergarten teacher Mrs. Hildebrandt, but Peter tells her she's being unreasonable, compared to Ms. Ziff who becomes a Cool Teacher and says Fudge must be as sweet as his name. Fudge calls Mrs Hildebrandt "Ratface" for insisting on addressing him as Farley. Despite Peter telling Fudge that it's rude to call a teacher that, he admits Mrs Hildebrandt does look like a Ratface and refers to her as such in later books.
  • Always Identical Twins: Cousins Flora and Fauna Hatcher, also known as "The Natural Beauties" and "The Heavenly Hatchers."
  • Amazon Chaser: Peter's first crush, Joanne, is described as being significantly taller than him.
  • Ancestral Name: Applies to all three Hatcher children.
    • Peter Warren Hatcher takes his middle name from his father.
    • Farley Drexel Hatcher is named after his great uncle. Unbeknownst to his parents, his cousin was also named after said uncle.
    • Tamara Roxanne Hatcher's middle name seems to have been derived from her mother.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Fudge. To a lesser extent, Tootsie, but she isn't the focus of the series; she's still a baby, and Peter is extremely relieved that she isn't another Fudge. Mini, although he isn't a sibling, acts this way towards Fudge, doing several things that mirrored things Fudge did to Peter when he was younger.
  • Apology Gift: After Fudge swallows Dribble, and the turtle comes out dead in the hospital, Peter is angry at Fudge again. He's also disgusted with his parents for giving presents to Fudge; when his dad brings a box for him, Peter brusquely says that another turtle won't make him feel better. Warren tells him it's not another turtle; he and Anne talked it over how Peter was a good sport about his pet being killed and wanted to apologize for the tragedy. Instead, Peter receives a puppy — a St. Bernard if you go with the cover art on some editions — who is friendly and likes Peter immediately. Warren also assures him that Turtle (as he is named) is going to grow too big for Fudge to ever eat, and sets boundaries with a recovered Fudge by telling him it's Peter's dog.
  • Ascended Extra: Henry Bevelheimer, who originally worked as the elevator operator for the apartment building where the Hatchers live, plays a much larger role in Double Fudgenote  He fixes up the apartment Jimmy Fargo and his father used to live in once they move out, he helps out a bit with Uncle Feather's brief period of not talking at all by concluding that the myna bird is "on strike", and later he converts the elevator to self-service, installs a security camera inside the elevator and becomes superintendent of the apartment building, in which he also calls a special meeting for all the kids in the apartment on how to use the elevator on their own.
  • Ascended Fangirl: Art gallery owner Beverly Mueller was a fan of Frank Fargo's work long before meeting (and later getting engaged to) him.
  • Art Imitates Art: In Double Fudge, after Frank Fargo's "Baby Feet" paintings (made with baby Tootsie's footprints, as mentioned above) become famous and sell for a lot of money, as a Get-Rich-Quick Scheme Fudge (who is obsessed with money in this story) makes a knock-off series of paintings: "Dog Feet," using Peter's dog Turtle to help make the paintings. However, Mr. Fargo is impressed and claims they show "a lot of promise."
  • Baby See, Baby Do: Tootsie seems to be learning some words rather quickly, mostly by hearing her family members say certain words or phrases. For example:
    • When Peter is changing Tootsie's diaper, he exclaims, "Yuck!" and she repeats him. Later, when someone mentions New York, she says, "Nu Yuck."
    • When Fudge says, "Goodbye, shoe", Tootsie says, "Bye-bye, Sue!" which surprises a police officer named Sue.
    • When someone says "Enough!", it often comes out sounding like like "Eeee-nuff" to Tootsie, and she squeals "Eeeeee!" in response.
      • This leads to a moment later in Double Fudge where when the mom says, "That's enough, Fudge!", Tootsie says, "Eeee-nuff, Foo!" (She's too young to pronounce "Fudge" properly.)
  • Baby's First Words: Tootsie's first word is "Yuck", said in Superfudge when Peter was changing her diaper and said "yuck". Then she later says it as "Nu Yuck" when the family is planning to move back to New York City.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Inverted; Peter says he's always wanted a dog, but his parents vetoed it saying the apartment was too small. He's satisfied with his turtle Dribble, caring for him responsibly. When Dribble dies due to Fudge swallowing him, Anne and Warren have a discussion after Fudge is safe and discharged, believing Peter was a good sport about the situation. They get him a puppy as an Apology Gift, knowing he wanted one. Peter decides to name him Turtle, to remember.
  • Because I Said So: A variant in Fourth Grade Nothing when Peter's mom is yelling at him about "allowing" Fudge to jump off the jungle gym. Since she left Sheila in charge, Peter asks why she's mad at him and not Sheila, and his mom is unable to come up with a better reason other than "I just am." To her credit, she later admits she wasn't being fair and apologizes to him.
  • Berserk Button: Fudge will only respond to his nickname. His initial kindergarten teacher discovers this when, after she insists on calling him by one of his legal names, he kicks her in the shin and climbs on top of a shelf in protest, resulting in his transfer to the other kindergarten class. Peter sometimes pushes the button.
  • Big Applesauce: Played straight in Fourth Grade Nothing and Double Fudge which take place exclusively in New York City, except for a brief trip to DC in the latter that lasts three chapters. Largely averted in the other two which take place mostly in Princeton, NJ and Southwest Harbor, ME.
  • Big Brother Instinct:
    • Peter has a few moments where he willingly helps Fudge. Notably, he gets mad at Mrs. Hildebrandt for saying something is wrong with Fudge for refusing to be called by his given name. Peter says there's nothing wrong with him; it's their parents' fault for nicknaming him.
    • Later, Tootsie walks all over one of Mr. Fargo's canvases while graduating out of her crawling stage. He finds out, and Peter picks up Tootsie. He holds her protectively in case the man gets mad. Instead, Mr. Fargo chuckles and tickles her feet, asking if she could do it again because he likes the pattern.
    • Peter expresses worry about Fudge being in a "mixed-up" group for his first-grade class, actually a mixed group of kids. He reminds Anne that the teacher may be another "Ratface" who gives Fudge trouble for arbitrary reasons and the kid needs a good teacher. Anne reassures him that she and Warren thought about that and met with his teachers, a guy and a girl. Unfortunately, owing to the school's higher standards, Fudge's obsession with money causes them to ask Anne at a guidance counselor meeting if the family is financially struggling.
  • Big Eater: Fudge's friend Ralph in Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, in the fifth chapter "The Birthday Bash." He loves to eat and is so big and heavy that even his own mother cannot lift him. At the party, Ralph requests a second piece of cake, and Anne gets him one, even though Peter is unsure about it. Sure enough, Ralph vomits right after finishing the second piece of cake.
    • Mr. Hatcher's secretary Janet keeps a lot of crackers and cookies in her purse, which she is seen giving to Fudge to perform a favor or behave well. Peter thinks to himself she must eat a lot to keep them in her purse regularly.
  • Big Friendly Dog: Turtle, even though he slobbers quite a lot and will chase Sheila if Peter jokingly orders it. In the television adaptation, he's a Saint Bernard; the books don't specify a breed other than that he's large.
  • Big "NO!": At the end of Double Fudge, Fudge cries one when Mini-Farley gleefully reveals that he swallowed his (Fudge's) tooth.
  • Bird-Poop Gag: At one point, Uncle Feather escapes and poops on things.
  • Bittersweet Ending: At the end of Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Peter loses his pet turtle, Dribble. His parents get him a dog afterwards to make up for the whole ordeal, but the loss of Dribble was still very upsetting for Peter nonetheless.
  • Bizarre Beverage Use: Discussed in "Fudge-a-mania" when Buzzy Senior suggests that Turtle should be doused with tomato juice after he's been sprayed by a skunk. Warren, however, settles for buying a shampoo called Skunked.
  • Book Ends: Lampshaded. The first book ends with Fudge eating Peter's pet turtle. The last book has Mini-Farley, Fudge's cousin and Expy, eating Fudge's tooth. Peter points out the similarity in both of the situations.
  • Bowdlerise: Of a sort; in Superfudge, the original 1980 text mentioned that Peter's mother was allergic to nuts and couldn't even eat peanut butter as a result, while the 2002 reprint softened it up so she is just allergic to tree nuts, but not peanuts, and can still eat peanut butter. In both cases, Peter says, "Without peanut butter, I might starve."
    • Inverted somewhat with Peter's Potty Emergency moment in the third chapter of the same book. In the original 1980 text, Peter says, "I really had to use the bathroom. I mean, really." The 2002 reprint changes this line to, "I really had to pee. I mean, really." Though it could be justified in that "pee" was an arguably less-offensive word in a novel for preteens by 2002, compared to when Superfudge was originally published in 1980.
  • Butt-Monkey: Peter believes he is this. On the other hand, he's a decent student at school, is good at making friends, and doesn't let Fudge's mischief ruin his life.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Fudge fills this role, mostly because Tootsie is still a baby. Among his exploits are making a mess in a restaurant; jumping off of the jungle gym pretending to be a bird (this act breaks his front teeth and gets Peter in trouble); scribbling all over the school project that Peter, Sheila, and Jimmy had worked on for weeks; and then (after Peter persuaded his parents to let him get a lock on the door of his room) managing to unlock Peter's bedroom door and eat his turtle. Later, in Fudge-a-mania, he mocks Peter about it and then has the gall to get upset when Peter pours his punch over Fudge's head.
    • Fudge's friend Jennie is an even worse case; she seems to be a perfect angel when she enters, but we then learn she'll bite people when she's angry and can't have her way, can be a real nuisance, and even intentionally pees on the floor at one point during Fudge's third birthday party.
    • In Double Fudge, Fudge has mostly grown out of this, but now there's four-year-old Mini (short for "Mini-Fudge", since he and Fudge share the same legal name) to contend with, and he's living up to his namesake's actions at that age.
  • Breaking Bad News Gently:
    • Dr. Cone, the only medical professional who doesn't laugh when Fudge swallows Dribble, has to tell Peter that Dribble is dead. He does it by suggesting that Peter get another turtle.
    • Grandma Muriel does this in the TV adaptation of the story as well when explaining to Peter the same thing.
    • Inverted when later on Peter is at home with his grandmother and she gets a call telling her they got Dribble out. Peter, who is still in denial, asks her if Dribble was alive or dead to which she responds, "PETER WARREN HATCHER, WHAT A QUESTION!"
  • Call-Back: Each subsequent Fudge book has had at least one to any previous stories. Double Fudge seems to contain the most call backs, from Fudge swallowing Peter's pet turtle in the first book (and Peter comparing it to their youngest cousin swallowing Fudge's tooth) to Fudge wanting to marry Sheila Tubman.
    • While Fudge-a-Mania makes no mention of the Hatcher family's year-long stay in Princeton in the previous book Superfudge, Double Fudge does mention it.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Peter isn't impressed when his mother tries to blame him for Fudge losing his front teeth. He points out that she left Sheila in charge so she should be yelling at the other girl. She apologizes the next day after he spent the night and next day not speaking to her.
  • Catchphrase: Fudge's "Eat it or wear it!" and "All gone!" in Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing and Uncle Feather's "Bonjour, stupid!" in Superfudge and later books.
  • Characterization Marches On: Jimmy's mother is said to be a Nice Girl who helps out with Jimmy's birthday party, giving Peter a pet turtle. Superfudge opens with her and Mr. Fargo getting a divorce, and she actually walked out on them. Jimmy doesn't miss her, saying he prefers his dad over her. Peter misses the implications that it may have been due to Mr. Fargo quitting his job as a university professor/part-time actor and going into painting, severely cutting into their income level.
  • Child Prodigy: Both played with and averted in the span of two books. In Superfudge, Fudge is deemed smart enough to start kindergarten early when the family's in Princeton for the year because he knows so many of his letters and can spell "Maine" which is treated like a big deal when he's four years old. Unfortunately in Double Fudge, he's not deemed ready to be in a first grade classroom and has to be in a "mixed group" full of other students in that position and is actually one of the lowest performing students in the high standard group. In other words, Fudge is a Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond in that he's smart in a smaller reference pool but only about slightly above average if that when compared to a larger group.
    • This might be incorrect. It might just be that the children in the group are all kids who are performing at a point where they've passed kindergarten, but aren't yet six, so too young to start first grade.
  • Childish Tooth Gap: In Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing, Fudge, who at that point was only two or three years old, loses his two top front teeth when he falls off a jungle gym, pretending that he was a bird. His older brother Peter secretly calls him Fang, even though he never says it out loud because his mother doesn't like the nickname.
  • Children Are Innocent: Attempted: Superfudge has Fudge trying to engage in his previous toddler behavior by hiding Tootsie in the closet, covering her in grocery stamps, and riding off to a distant bakery with his friend Danny without telling anyone. In the previous book, he was three, and his parents considered him still a baby then. Thing is that he's now four years old, deemed responsible enough to go to kindergarten, and precocious for his age. Anne and Warren are also raising another newborn, with Anne implied to be suffering postpartum depression. Even though Tootsie is nowhere near as mischievous as Fudge, she is still a baby. They punish him more accordingly because he's not the baby anymore, letting being a baby. Warren tells him after the bike incident that he lost the privilege to ride for a month because he proved he was irresponsible.
  • Clingy Child: In Superfudge, Peter announces that he's going to leave home after he hears that his mother's going to have another baby. Fudge clings to his leg, tearfully begging him not to leave. Peter tries to shake him off, but he won't let go.
  • Comic-Book Time: Despite the decade-long gaps between books, each book is set in the time it was written (although newer editions of some of the books have been revised to update the cultural references), but the characters only seem to age a year or two between each book. Peter goes from talking to the elevator operator to instant messaging from the fourth to seventh grade.
  • The Compliance Game: In "Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing", after Fudge hides his baby sister Tamara "Tootsie" Roxanne, his big brother Peter gets him to show where she is by playing the "hot, cold" game (saying "hot" when he searches and gets close to finding her and "cold" when he gets farther away).
  • Cool Big Bro: Peter sometimes shows instances of this towards Fudge. When Fudge starts developing Infant Sibling Jealousy towards Tootsie, Peter decides to talk to him and tells him that being the older sibling isn't always so bad. This helps tone down Fudge's deliberate bedwetting and climbing into Tootsie's crib. Later, a teacher says something is wrong with Fudge for refusing to be called by his given name, Peter says it's not his little brother's fault because everyone calls him Fudge, saying his parents are weird. Later, he admits that Tootsie isn't so bad to have as a little sister, and enjoys spending time with her. Peter even inspires her to say her first word: "Yuck!" Then when the family discusses returning to New York City, she says "Nu Yuck!"
  • Contrived Coincidence: In Double Fudge, Fudge loses a shoe while riding the subway, so Warren reports it to a female transit cop. Tootsie overhears the cop say something along the lines of "goodbye shoe", which prompts her to say "Bye-bye, sue!", due to being unable to produce the "sh" sound. This surprises the cop, who questions how Tootsie knew that her name was Sue.
  • Convenience Store Gift Shopping: Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing has Peter being given a picture dictionary, which is more suitable for a preschooler than the preteen that he is. Ugh. At least he has enough tact to pretend to be enthused. Fudge, on the other hand, brings out their old copy of the same book; then when it happens again at his birthday party, he throws it across the room.
  • Cowardly Lion: Fudge's friend Sam in Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, in the fifth chapter "The Birthday Bash." He fears many things, including birthday parties, cone party hats, the dark, jack-in-the-boxes and balloons.

  • Delivery Stork: Referenced in Superfudge, where Peter's grandmother is dismayed that his parents told four-year-old Fudge the truth about how the baby got inside Mommy's belly. In her day, the stork was the standard Lie To Children.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Of a sort. After Fudge eats Dribble, Peter's pet turtle, in Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, their parents buy Peter a dog — whom Peter names Turtle.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Peter has elements of this. When his parents nickname his new baby sister Tootsie, after having already nicknamed his little brother Fudge, he dryly wonders (to himself) if what they really wanted was a candy store.
  • DecemberĖDecember Romance: In Fudge-a-Mania, Peter's widowed grandmother marries Sheila's widowed grandfather, making the two young archenemies cousins-in-law. They agree to still politely hate each otherís guts, though.
  • The Diaper Change: In the last chapter of Superfudge, Peter is forced to change his baby sister Tootsie in the morning because his parents are still asleep. Despite his initial disgust at the task, it becomes worth it when Tootsie speaks her first words during the change.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • Peter's dad didn't consider the ramifications of hosting a client at his apartment, especially with a mischievous toddler who can get out of his crib without a problem.
    • Sheila makes a bad move by starting the cooties game with Peter and Jimmy when she's supposed to babysit Fudge. Ironically, she's the Karma Houdini in the situation, as Peter's mother blames him for what happens briefly before apologizing the next day. With that said, Peter doesn't let her live it down, reminding her about it the next time Sheila wants to babysit.
  • Dinner with the Boss: Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing has Fudge wreak havoc at one of these (with Mr. Yarby, a client of Warren's advertising agency), and it's implied that the agency lost the account because of this, though the abysmal sales for the beverage Juicy-O were also responsible. The connection is made more direct in the TV adaptation, with the episode "How Turtle Got His Name".
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Fudge kicks his teacher for calling him by his real name.
  • A Dog Named "Cat": In Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Peter names his dog Turtle in memory of his turtle Dribble (who was swallowed alive by Fudge).
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Fudge absolutely will not answer to his real name, Farley (and who can blame him?). It's a bit of a Berserk Button, in fact. Fudge's first kindergarten teacher defies this, and she refuses point-blank to call him "Fudge". At least Fudge has the excuse of being a little kid, but a grown woman, especially a teacher of all things, should be more accepting of a child wanting to be referred to by the nickname they have always used.
  • Dude, Not Funny!:
    • Fudge attempts to liven up the evening after party with the Juicy-O couple by first showing them Peter's turtle (which Peter has told him several times not to touch) and then scaring them with a gorilla mask. This is the first time Warren loses it and tells Fudge that he's not funny.
    • When Fudge swallows Dribble and Anne realizes that Fudge isn't joking, she freaks out and immediately takes him to the hospital. The problem is that everyone laughs when she tells them "My baby swallowed a turtle." This 'everyone' includes the 911 operator, everyone on the elevator ride downstairs including Fudge, and the paramedics in the ambulance. Peter's mother isn't amused for obvious reasons, and Peter isn't amused because no one seems to care that his pet turtle got eaten alive.
    • Henry isn't amused when Peter jokingly orders Turtle to sic Sheila, since Sheila has a phobia of dogs which she hides by claiming that Turtle is stinky.
  • Elevator Failure: In Double Fudge, Fudge and Mini-Farley and neighbor Olivia Osterman get stuck in their apartment's elevator on Halloween. But Fudge is able to successfully use the emergency intercom to communicate with Henry and everyone else in the lobby.
  • Embarrassing Damp Sheets: In Superfudge, the now-middle child Fudge begins wetting the bed (and his pants) because there is a new baby in the house and he wants to be a baby too.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Peter sees Fudge and Tootsie's nicknames as this. Peter also initially doesn't like it when Fudge starts calling him "Pete" early on in Fudge-a-Mania, but eventually gets used to it. Warren has to deal with the fact that his long-lost cousin Howie still refers to him with his childhood nickname, Tubby, which ironically would better describe Howie in the present.
  • Embarrassing Old Photo: Peter's parents have one of him as a toddler, naked and holding a broom.
  • Everybody Knew Already: In Superfudge, Peter is asked by his parents to humor Fudge's belief in Santa, despite never having believed himself. After receiving his coveted red bicycle, Fudge confides to Peter that he's never believed, either, and pretends for their parents' sake.
  • Exact Words: Fudge describes his myna bird, Uncle Feather, as having a "yellow nose," rather than a beak or a bill, when he goes missing and is asking the neighbors for help, and also never explicitly mentions that "Uncle Feather" is a bird (presumably believing it's obvious/doesn't need to be spelled out). This leads to more than one conversation with a confused adult. One character even assumes that Uncle Feather is Fudge's actual uncle.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: While most of the books in the series cover about 3-6 months in the lives of the characters, Fudge-A-Mania takes place over the course of only three weeks. Inverted with Superfudge which covers nearly two years of the Hatcher family's lives.
  • Family Theme Naming: Farley Drexel "Fudge" Hatcher appropriately gets a baby sister nicknamed "Tootsie".
  • First Pet Story: Peter caring for Dribble in Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.
  • Foil: Peter worries that Tootsie will be another Fudge and a holy terror. He couldn't be more wrong: while Tootsie does occasionally get into trouble, it's usually by accident and when she's following her big brothers and learning to toddle. Peter admits that she is a better-behaved toddler. Tootsie also gets along better with Peter, learning her first word from him and asking him to carry her. Their reasons for fame also become different; Fudge stars in a Toddle-Bike commercial and refuses to cooperate at first, while Tootsie is more than happy to run across Mr. Fargo's multiple painted canvases.
  • Food Slap: In Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing, Fudge becomes so irritating with his food strike and becoming "the family dog" that Warren takes him into the bathroom, sits him in the tub, and dumps a whole bowl of cereal over Fudge's head. From there comes Fudge's favorite expression, "Eat it or wear it". Peter later does this in Fudge-a-mania when Fudge mocks him about eating Dribble, Peter's pet turtle, in the first book. And Fudge has the gall to get upset.
  • Foreign Queasine: In Superfudge, Peter and a friend collect worms for a neighbor, and speculate that she might eat them. This is confirmed when she gives them cookies into which ground-up worms (for protein) have been blended. Later, it's revealed that this was a Halloween counter-prank, and there were no worms in the cookies.
  • Foul Mouthed Parrot: A G-rated version. Fudge is very proud of his myna bird, Uncle Feather, who can speak French. Any time someone addresses the bird, he responds by saying, "Bonjour, Stupid." It's also mentioned in Double Fudge that Uncle Feather loves swear words, but of course the words are never actually heard in the book.
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: In Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Anne calls Peter by his full name, Peter Warren Hatcher, when Peter tries to tell her that Fudge ate his turtle, and then Grandma Muriel does so when Peter asks if his turtle survived being swallowed alive by Fudge. As if he shouldn't have asked the question in the first place.
  • Fun with Acronyms: When Peter (presumably) swallows a fly in Fudge-a-Mania, Bicycle Bob welcomes him into the I.S.A.F. (I Swallowed a Fly) Club, which is reserved for people who've accidentally swallowed a fly while biking. Bob and Peter are the only known members.
  • George Lucas Altered Version: The books were edited in post-2002 reprints to, among other things, replace references to The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, and The Electric Company (1971) with references to the Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon, and replace vinyl record players with CD players and even tape players.
    • Additionally, Superfudge also softened up Peter's mother's nut allergy in the 2002 reprint, as mentioned in Bowdlerise, so that she is only allergic to tree nuts but not peanuts.
  • Gift-Giving Gaffe: In Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, the Yarbys give Peter a picture dictionary intended for younger children, presumably out of ignorance. Peter kindly accepts the gift, but Fudge goes into Peter's room and returns with a copy of the book that Peter already owns. Later on, Fudge receives another copy of the same book as a birthday present from his friend Sam and throws a fit. To be fair, Sam didn't know that Fudge already owned the book.
  • Girls Have Cooties: In Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing, Sheila Tubman teases Peter Hatcher by touching him and saying he's got the cooties, even up to the fourth grade. Peter doesn't believe in this anymore, but is annoyed by her constantly bothering him about it. It's only after this happens while she's supposed to be watching Fudge and Fudge jumps off the jungle gym set, thinking he's a bird, and loses his top two front teeth that she finally stops with the cooties.
  • Hard Truth Aesop: The way the Hatchers politely turn down Flora and Fauna begging to stay with them evokes this, that sometimes you have to know when you can't help people. Peter thinks his twin cousins are embarrassing due to their tendency to start random song and dance numbers in public. A reader can see, however, that being raised by Howie and Eudora, who are strict with them while going easy on their little brother, has made them chafe under the Double Standard. Flora and Fauna beg to stay in New York when their family plans to go back to Hawaii and have another kid, even saying they'll babysit Fudge and do all the chores so they won't be a burden. Anne and Warren break it to them gently that they don't have space to take in two extra children, New York winters are no walk in the park for people used to colder climates, and it's unlikely that their parents would be okay with their two underage daughters being a great distance away. They do promise, however, that if the girls want to come to New York for college, then they can help them get settled in the city.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: Peter spends much of the books complaining about Fudge, but he does not take it well when Fudge's first kindergarten teacher claims that there's something wrong with him. (It's also that Peter knows that his parents were weird to nickname his brother Fudge.)
    "There's nothing wrong with him!"
  • Idiot Ball: Sheila grabs it in Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by playing cooties with Peter and Jimmy, when she's supposed to be helping them watch Fudge. Her actions result in Fudge getting hurt on the jungle gym.
  • If It Tastes Bad, It Must Be Good for You: Subverted with Juicy-O, a fruit beverage made of a different variety of fruits. This excuse is put off as bunk when Peter's dad brings home a crate of the stuff, which Peter only drinks to make his dad happy, though his dad later reveals that he finds it rather noxious as well. The stuff also doesn't do well in stores; apparently the combination of orange, grapefruit, pineapple, pear and banana juices isnít too tasty.
  • Infant Sibling Jealousy: Both Peter and Fudge fall into this to varying degrees when Anne is pregnant with and gives birth to Tootsie. Peter is initially worried that his new sister will be an encore of Fudge and even ineffectually threatens to run away from home when he finds out about the pregnancy, but he comes around quick after seeing Tootsie for the first time. Fudge, however, is jealous at the fact that he's no longer The Baby of the Bunch, especially since this is around the time Warren and Anne start taking his uncalled- for deportment more seriously.
  • Injured Limb Story: In Double Fudge, when the Honolulu Hatchers are visiting the main family's apartment, three-year-old Mini-Farley, who's fascinated by Uncle Feather, lets the myna bird out of his cage, and as a result, Uncle Feather crashes into a window and breaks one of his wings, thus having to wear a splint for six weeks. Fortunately, it got Uncle Feather to start talking again after a period of not talking at all.
  • Intentional Mess Making:
  • I Warned You: Peter warns his parents that Fudge's latest money obsession is not just a phase and it could get him in trouble. Anne tries to dismiss Peter because Fudge has gone through quite a few phases like trying to climb into Tootsie's crib or singing about spelling words. She has to eat her words when Fudge throws a temper tantrum in the shoe store because Anne says they can only get one pair of shoes and she's not getting him two pairs. Later, Fudge's guidance counselor schedules a meeting about the obsession to ask if the Hatchers are having financial problems. Warren and Anne decide that seeing how money is made in Washington D.C. would teach Fudge that it's not something you can just spend willy-nilly and would "cure" the obsession. It doesn't work, Fudge embarrasses himself and them by asking the tour guide how you bluntly get money, with the tour guide showing sympathy towards Anne and Warren as they try to curb Fudge's rude questions. Peter snarkily asks if Fudge's cured yet; his parents give him a look acknowledging that he was right but don't bring it up right now.
  • Jerkass:
    • Daniel Manheim, in Superfudge, is a spoiled picky brat who invites himself to meals multiple times in the book.
    • Sheila is quite insufferable, even without Peter or Jimmy returning the favor. She's arrogant and a bit of a know-it-all in Tales Of A Fourth-Grade Nothing. Plus it's her fault that Fudge loses his front teeth; while Anne doesn't remonstrate her and briefly blames Peter, she's not hired again for the job and it makes her visits to the Hatcher apartment awkward when she has to work with Peter and Jimmy on a project. Fudge-a-Mania softens her up where she's quite willing to play with Fudge on his level, meaning he gets into no more life-threatening situations, and promises to be semi-civil to Peter (while they hate each other) after their grandparents marry.
    • George Vincent, the president of the Toddle-Bike company in Tales of a Forth Grade Nothing. He essentially blackmails Warren into making Fudge, who has zero acting experience, star in his TV commercial, threatening to take his business elsewhere if Warren won't comply.
    • Mr. Yarby, and to a lesser extend his wife, in Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, who get very offended at Fudge's rude, yet mostly harmess, behavior. At one point, Mr. Yarby claims that if he and his wife had any children of their own, they would teach them some manners. He also insists on calling Warren "Hatcher", and not by his first name.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: When Peter is butting heads with Sheila, he quite accurately points out a lot of her faults: she's an arrogant Know-Nothing Know-It-All who hides that she is a coward. Sheila later admits this in her spotlight book, especially when her best friend says the same thing.
  • Jerkass Realization: Anne has one the day after she blames Peter for Fudge having an accident in the park. He rightly points out that she put Sheila in charge, and thus she should have no reason to be angry at him. Then he spends the rest of the day not talking to her or eating her cooking. When Peter is grumping in bed, Anne comes meekly. She says she owes him an apology for how she acted and said it was wrong to make him a scapegoat. Peter doesn't let her off the hook until she admits that Fudge could have jumped off the jungle gym at any time, even if she had been there. Then he accepts her apology.

  • Karma Houdini: Towards the end of Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Fudge breaks into Peter's room and eats Peter's pet turtle Dribble. While everyone is understandably worried about how this affects Fudge, the only person who really considers how Peter feels about the situation is Dr. Cone. Although the incident ends with Fudge spending several days in the hospital consuming laxatives and Peter receiving a dog for "being a good sport" while it was happening, Fudge is never punished for forcing his way into a room he was repeatedly told to stay out of, especially since the door was locked due to Fudge's previous actions.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty:
    • Earlier in Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing, Fudge ruins Peter's class project poster about transportation and gets a spanking for it. When Fudge later breaks into Peter's room again and cuts his hair into Dribble's bowl, he gets a trip to the barber while Peter gets a chain latch.
    • As Fudge gets older in later books, his bad behavior is taken more seriously and he's punished more accordingly. He is a year older in Superfudge, and his parents then have Tootsie, a newborn. He starts acting out by playing pranks and trying to be the baby again. In Tales Of A Fourth-Grade Nothing, his parents would have only punished him for the worst of it. Here, Anne tells off Fudge for hiding Tootsie in the apartment because she's little and fragile, and smacks him when he decorates Tootsie in grocery stamps to trade her in for a reward item. When Fudge tries to sell Tootsie, give her away for free, and then pay someone a quarter to take her, Peter interferes. He tells Fudge bluntly that if he keeps acting like a baby, he'll miss out on the fun of growing up.
    • For readers annoyed by how Anne and Warren Hatcher handled Fudge's misbehavior, this starts coming to a head in Double Fudge. By this point, Fudge is smart, but still too young for first grade, so he's in what's called 'mixed group.' The latest manifestation of his self-centeredness is his obsession with money. Peter warns his parents that it's getting to be too much and repeats something Sheila said about Fudge having no values, but Anne writes it off as another phase. Then his teachers sent him to the guidance counselor over it and called his parents in for a conference. Anne is absolutely humiliated by the teachers gently asking if they're having money problems at home and suggesting to her that she and her husband focus less on material items and start emphasizing how the best things in life are free. She asks Peter if he thinks they've been too materialistic and if he understands things like how all the money in the world can't make up for love and friendship, etc. They end up taking Fudge to Washington, D.C. to see the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to try and help him understand that money isn't just a conduit to happiness, and Fudge finally just asks the tour guide how you get more of it. Anne nervously tries to explain Fudge is just so interested in money, and the tour guide is like, "I get what you're saying, but someone has to set him straight." An older gentleman in the crowd steps forward and volunteers, giving Fudge a heartfelt speech about savings, investing, and retirement, and it goes completely over his head when he suggests "Or someone can just give it to you." Peter overhears someone in the crowd say "This kid is hopeless," and the tour guide just looks at Fudge and says, "You're going to love the gift shop. All the kids do."
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Peter reinforces that Sheila is this in Superfudge. She makes the mistake of insulting Turtle's smell once again, and Peter is so annoyed that he jokingly orders Turtle to "sic her!" Turtle thinks it's a game and chases her down. When Henry stops Turtle and Peter, Sheila tattles that Turtle was going to "sic" her. Peter asks what she thinks "sic" means and Sheila claims it's that Turtle has germs and would make her sick. (It actually means attacking someone.) When Henry comforts Sheila, Peter laughs his head off at her ignorance.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Fudge killed Dribble by swallowing him and had no remorse for it. He only feels guilty when he gets older and Mini swallows his first baby tooth after it comes out and has to write a note to the Tooth Fairy explaining what happened. Peter even lampshades it, saying it's karma.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: For every book after the first one, Peter having a dog named "Turtle" spoils the ending of Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, where Fudge eats Peter's beloved pet turtle Dribble, prompting his parents to buy him a dog as a replacement, with Peter naming him "Turtle" as a tribute to his first pet.
  • Lost Voice Plot: During some time in "Double Fudge", Uncle Feather inexplicably stops talking, and for a while Fudge tries to cover it up by imitating Uncle Feather's voice when alone in his room at night. But then Uncle Feather gets his voice back as the result of a near-death incident caused by Mini Farley.
  • Lost Wedding Ring: In Fudge-a-Mania, ring bearer Fudge accidentally loses both wedding rings just before Grandma and Buzzy Senior were about to put them on. Downplayed in that the rings were found fairly quickly.
  • Meaningful Name: In Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Fudge's friend Ralph vomits after eating too much birthday cake. "Ralph" is slang for vomiting.
  • Men Can't Keep House: In one of the books, Peter's mother has to go away for a week. His father manages to keep house, but just barely and mostly through trial and error. At one point, Peter's father tries to make mushroom omelets for himself, Peter, and Fudge, but though Fudge seems to have no problem eating it, Peter and his father both dislike the taste and end up making peanut butter sandwiches.
  • Misplaced Kindergarten Teacher: A rare inversion. Fudge's first kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Hildebrandt, is a strict and inflexible teacher who refuses to call Fudge by his preferred nickname, even commenting "there's something wrong with that child" (to which Peter defends his little brother). The personality clash is solved by transferring Fudge to a different class with a more understanding teacher. Later on, when helping the kindergarten classes with Uncle Feather, Peter notices that Mrs. Hildebrandt's students seem to sound robotic and unimaginative where they only talk if she gives them permission.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Izzy the librarian in the movie rendition of Fudge-a-Mania, both for Peter and the viewer.
  • Mocking Sing-Song: Sheila in Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing taunts Peter and his friend Jimmy by singing that they've got the cooties, until they both turn the tables and sing "Sheila's got the cooties!"
  • Moving Angst: In Superfudge, Peter is initially strongly against his family moving to Princeton, to the point where he considers running away, all because he doesn't want to leave behind his life in New York. The move is hard on him at first, but he manages to adapt before too long.
  • My Beloved Smother: Anne Hatcher has shades of this, especially around Fudge.
  • My New Gift Is Lame:
    • In Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Peter and Fudge receive gifts from friends of their parents. Fudge gets a wind-up toy train. Peter gets a book aimed at children closer to Fudge's age, if not younger, and is in fact a book Fudge already owns. Peter is not impressed.
    • Fudge gets another copy of the book for his birthday. Unlike Peter, who is polite enough to say "Thank you", Fudge gets mad and throws the book across the room.
  • Named by the Adaptation: Mrs. Yarby is given the first name Eleanor in the TV series.
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: Swearing is very rare in the books, but on the occasion it should happen, Peter's narration instead describes that they used profanity. A notable example is in Superfudge when everyone is waiting in the movie theater's ticket line, Elaine punches Alex in the gut, and Alex shouts, "Cut it out, you..." and Peter's narration interrupts, stating that Alex said a lot of "good" words at her, though one of then is hinted when Daniel Manheim responds in Mocking Sing-Song, "He said the A-word! He said the A-word!"
  • New Baby Episode: The book Superfudge focuses on Peter and Fudge's mother having a third baby, a daughter named Tamara "Tootsie" Roxanne. Peter initially dislikes Tootsie, due in part to her being another sibling with a candy-related nickname, but warms up to her before long. Fudge is also initially upset that he's no longer the youngest, though he gets better too.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: This is why Fudge's money phase leads to the school administration scheduling a parent-teacher conference to inquire about how the Hatcher financial situation is and the home values they're teaching him. For a five-year-old he is precocious, being able to recite most of the alphabet. By the mixed group's higher standards, however, he is pretty immature and that shows up during the D.C. trip. Peter thinks that Anne's worries that the teachers are judging her is ridiculous; the issue is that Fudge can only write about three or four words. He pretty much wrote down the word of the day and passed it off as homework.
  • No Social Skills: Twins Flora and Fauna burst into song and dance numbers randomly whenever it inspires them, including in the middle of a lunch with long-lost relatives. Their parents encourage it. That would be cute in a musical or movie but in real life, Peter is mortified and tries to hide whenever they start performing because they naturally attract everyone's attention. Fortunately, they're young enough that most adults see it as cute, and a neighbor who was on the stage tells them they could have a career as performers. The twins are also better socialized than their younger brother.
  • No Sympathy:
    • Subverted when Fudge eats Peter's turtle. Everyone's concerned about him, but not one person comforts Peter over the fact that his pet has been eaten — his grandma even shouts at him when he understandably asks whether or not his turtle is alive. It isn't until after Fudge recovers that Peter's parents thank him for being a good sport about the whole thing and buy him a dog, since he had asked for one before and always wanted a puppy. This trope doesn't occur in the show's version of the incident, where, instead of yelling at Peter, his grandmother sits down with him and gently explains that Dribble is dead, then comforts him.
    • Zig-zagged in Double Fudge when Mini eats Fudge's baby tooth, which he had next to him at the dinner table, the last night the Howard-Hatchers are visiting. Fudge is understandably upset on realizing Mini swallowed it and wants it back. The Howard-Hatchers do their best to get it out of Mini but when they can't, they leave in a hurry. Peter can't help but put it that now Fudge knows what it was like when his little brother swallowed his turtle, and Fudge is shocked to learn that Peter hated him for killing his pet. Anne and Warren are more patient and help Fudge draft a letter of explanation to the Tooth Fairy so that he won't miss out on baby tooth money. Peter does admit he feels bad for Fudge a little, but not that much.
  • Not in Front of the Parrot!: Uncle Feather in Superfudge, while he doesn't pick up actual secrets, learns just enough accidental phrases (and comic timing, apparently) to call his owner's ex-kindergarten teacher "stupid" in front of the entire class.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Peter often tends to come in for this from his parents. Subverted on one occasion, however; after Fudge and his friend have seriously misbehaved, he suggests that his parents confiscate Fudge's new bike. Although Peter's expecting them to all snap "Peter, please!", much to Fudge's horror they actually consider this a good idea and do so.
  • Not So Above It All: Nine-year-old Peter admits to himself that the toy car is brother got for his third birthday does look like a lot of fun. At age twelve, he sees his mother carrying both Tootsie and Fudge and briefly wishes he could be his mother's little boy again.
  • Odd Name Out: After Peter's younger sister "Tootsie" is born, Peter winds up as the only one of the Hatcher children without a candy-themed name, cementing his status as the Only Sane Man of the family.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten:
    • Peter will never forget that Fudge ate his turtle, especially since the kid doesn't understand how bad it was until Mini swallows his tooth in Double Fudge. Peter says that it's karma for what Fudge did to his pet, with Fudge desperately saying that surely Peter has forgiven him.
    • In Fudge-a-Mania, Peter reminds his mother that Fudge knocked out his front teeth the last time that Sheila babysat his little brother. Peter may have forgiven his mother for lashing out at him, but he remains unimpressed by how Sheila handled the situation. Anne assures him that this time he is off the hook for anything Fudge or Sheila does.
  • One-Steve Limit:
    • There's Howard Yarby, president of the Juicy-O company, and Cousin Howie Hatcher. Both of them and their immediate families come off as undesirable houseguests (at least to Peter, anyway) who stay at the Hatchers' apartment.
    • In Double Fudge, we are introduced to Howie's son, who is also named Farley Drexel Hatcher. He is given the nickname "Mini" to distinguish him from Fudge. Justified by the fact that both Farley Drexels were named after an uncle of Warren and Howie's, and both families had lost touch with each other for years.
    • It's subtle, but in Fudge-a-Mania, there's Jake, Sheila's (female) dog, as well as Jacob, Mitzi's unseen little brother.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Fudgenote , and later, baby Tootsienote . Also Cousin Howienote  in Double Fudge.
    • When Fudge loses his top two front teeth, Peter wants to call his brother Fang, but his mother is against it.
    • Also in Double Fudge, Howie's son, also named Farley Drexel Hatcher, picks up the nickname "Mini", for "Mini-Fudge". By the end, Peter notes that only his parents still call him "Farley".
  • Only Sane Man:
    • Peter appears this way at least as often as not. Some of this is down to him being the point of view character, but by Double Fudge, his mother is occasionally asking him for advice or help dealing with Fudge, as well as assurance that her parenting isn't as bad as Fudge's teachers imply. One scene that stands out is when Mrs. Hildebrandt insists that something must be wrong with Fudge for refusing to be called by his proper name, kicking her, and climbing on top of a cabinet to claim he's a bird; Peter gets angry on Fudge's behalf and says that there's nothing wrong with little brother. He reveals to the teacher and principal that everyone in their family and neighborhood calls the kid Fudge, including their parents. Yes, it's weird but she doesn't know his parents.
    • Dr. Cone is the only adult that doesn't freak out or laugh when hearing that Fudge swallowed Peter's turtle. Anne is too frantic to realize that Fudge broke into Peter's room to do so, violated his privacy, and killed his pet. Dr. Cone, on the other hand, knows the kid well, and also knows that laughing would make Anne stress further. Dr. Cone also is sympathetic when Peter asks if Dribble is going to be okay, Breaking Bad News Gently that Dribble is dead from the digestive juices in Fudge's body.
  • On Second Thought: When Fudge ruins Peter and Jimmy's poster for a school project, Peter asks for a lock because he knows his little brother loves going through his stuff. Anne refuses at the time saying she doesn't like locks because if there's an emergency, Peter may get trapped in his room. Then Fudge breaks into his room again, grabs Dribble's bowl, and uses Peter's scissors to cut his hair over the turtle. Realizing that if they don't do something soon that Fudge could seriously hurt himself with Peter's things, Anne and Warren install a chain latch for Peter's room as a compromise, since it being on the outside meaning no one can get locked in by accident. Peter even thinks this is fair since he himself can only reach the latch if standing on tiptoe, and Fudge is much smaller than him. Fudge finds a way around this by using a chair to reach the chain latch.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Just because Sheila Tubman is right most of the time doesn't mean that Peter will ever give her the satisfaction of knowing. In Double Fudge, he's shocked at himself when agreeing with her that Fudge has "no values" regarding the kid's money obsession and telling his mother the same thing.

  • Parental Favoritism: Played with. Peter perceives his parents as favoring Fudge over him, but much of this is actually down to the substantial age gap between the two. In Tales of A Fourth-Grade Nothing, Fudge is a toddler, so Warren and Anne have to take his level of maturity and understanding (or lack thereof) into account, while Peter, being nine, is seen as old enough to know better. As Fudge grows older in the subsequent books, his parents' expectations of his behavior increase accordingly, and consequently his bad behavior is punished more often and taken more seriously; for example, when Fudge and his friend Daniel attempt to run away from home after Peter refuses to take them both on a picnic he's having with his friend, the parents punish the younger boys by taking their bikes away for a month, at Peter's suggestion. Fudge himself begins to experience this from the other side after Tootsie is born, and Peter seems to grasp it on some level as he explains to Fudge what it means to be an older sibling.
  • Parental Obliviousness: Uncle Howie is this more than Warren and Anne in Double Fudge. He's hard on his daughters Flora and Fauna, but the only restrictions he has for Mini is for him not to eat candy or processed foods. Even Warren and Anne aren't that lenient on Fudge, doling out punishments when he gets older such as confiscating his bike for a month due to running away to the bakery. When Mini lets Uncle Feather loose out of his cage, Uncle Howard only lectures him not to do it again and thinks Mini licking him is a sign of assent. Yes, Peter lampshades this and even Fudge goes You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!. You can't blame the twins for asking if they can stay with Warren and Anne when the Howard-Hatchers have to return to Hawaii to get away from their dad. This eventually leads to Mini swallowing Fudge's tooth and laughing because he hasn't been taught it's rude and gross to do that to someone's first fallen-out baby tooth. Uncle Howie goes Oh, Crap! and tries to get the tooth out, but it's too late and the only thing the Howard-Hatchers can do is flee before Fudge beats up Mini. To a lesser extent, Uncle Howard is also Innocently Insensitive by calling Warren by his Embarrassing Nickname Tubby and taking up space in the tiny Hatcher apartment, while Eudora and Howie use the kitchen without asking for permission.
  • Parents as People: Peter's parents are nice, but often butt heads with their sons over various things (moving temporarily to Princeton, having a third child, etc.). Peter's mother in particular is often shown blaming Peter for Fudge's actions, and she's overly concerned about Fudge while ignoring Peter in Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing after Fudge is hospitalized for eating Peter's turtle. These are usually reactions in the moment, and once she's had a chance to think about it, she usually recognizes that she's being unfair and apologizes.
  • Parting-Words Regret: In "Superfudge," when Fudge runs away after Peter refuses to take him on a picnic, Peter inwardly panics, imagining Fudge being hit by a car or drowning in the lake, and feels guilty about having been angry with him all morning. Fortunately, a moment later, Fudge is revealed to be safe at a local bakery.
  • Picky Eater:
    • In Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Fudge goes through a phase where he behaves like a dog and is barely willing to eat anything. When Fudge asks for a bowl of corn flakes and refuses to eat it, Warren gets so fed up that he drags Fudge into the bathtub and dumps the cereal onto Fudge's head. Fudge immediately drops his dog charade after that point.
    • Daniel Manheim from Superfudge refuses to eat peas, lima beans, onions, and bread that has not had its crust cut off. He also only drinks chocolate milk. When Daniel refuses to go home, the Hatchers get him to leave by serving the foods that he hates.
  • Potty Emergency: In Superfudge, Peter briefly has one of these when Fudge is taking his time on the only available toilet. Peter's tempted to lift the little boy off the can, but has been told to encourage the imperfectly toilet-trained Fudge to use it, so doesn't dare; he gets so desperate that he considers weeing on a large potted houseplant. Luckily, Fudge finishes in time, and is duly impressed by how copiously his big brother can urinate.
  • Potty Failure: In Superfudge, Fudge starts wetting his pants and the bed again, despite being fully toilet-trained, in response to the new baby.
  • Precocious Crush:
    Fudge: "Pete got dizzy from Izzynote  at the library!"
  • Pushover Parents: Subverted with Warren and Anne. While they are much more lenient with Fudge (which is sort of justified, considering his age) than they are with Peter, they do know when to lay down the law if Fudge goes too far and as Fudge gets older, they do start to take his bad behavior more seriously and punish him accordingly.
  • Put Off Their Food: Peter ends up not eating much when he's stressed. After his mom yells at him for Fudge losing his teeth even though it was Sheila's fault, he mentions not eating much dinner.
  • Race Lift: The race of Peter's best friend Jimmy is never stated in the text but the illustrations in Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing seem to show a Caucasian. In the film and subsequent TV show, he's black, along with his father.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Peter's parents in Superfudge, at least when dealing with Peter. When Peter hears that his mother is pregnant, he immediately loses his temper, packs a gym bag, and threatens to run away. Do his parents freak out? No. Do they scold him? No. They simply ask him if he's thought of where he'll go, suggest that he eat dinner first and think it over, and promise that the new baby won't be another Fudge. Later, when he threatens to run away again after hearing Fudge will be attending his school in Princeton, Anne jokingly asks if he wants her to pack him a peanut butter sandwich. When Fudge and his friend Danny disappear to bike to a faraway bakery without telling anyone, however, everyone is angry at them, and Warren actually does lock up their bikes for a month at Peter's suggestion.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Peter is grieved and insulted when Dr. Cone suggests that he get another turtle to replace Dribble to replace the latter. His parents instead get him a puppy after Fudge swallows Dribble, since he's always wanted a dog.
  • Revolting Rescue: In "Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing", Fudge swallows Dribble the turtle, so the doctors make him either excrete or vomit Dribble out by giving him emetics and laxatives. In the end, Fudge manages to purge Dribble out of his system, but it's not said whether he puked or defecated him out.
  • Riddle for the Ages: In Superfudge, neither Peter nor his parents have any idea where Fudge learned how to spell "Maine", and trying to get a straight answer out of the four-year-old would have been an exercise in futility.
  • Say My Name: Mr. Yarby does this a couple of times with Warren in the second chapter of Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing in response to Fudge's mischief.
  • The Scapegoat: Peter, often. One example is Fudge falling and knocking out his two front teeth in Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. This is somehow Peter's fault, even though Sheila was babysitting Fudge at the time. To be fair, his mother does apologize for it later after she cools down and admits she was in the wrong.
  • Sexy Secretary: Mr. Hatcher's secretary Janet is noted to wear a lot of makeup and is very pretty according to Peter.
  • She Is All Grown Up: Discussed. People have mentioned that one day, Sheila Tubman will be quite beautiful. Peter is convinced otherwise.
  • Shared Universe: In Fudge-a-Mania, Fudge becomes friends with Mitzi, the protagonist of the children's book Tell Me a Mitzi. This prompts him to write his own book, Tell Me a Fudge; he gives the only copy to his grandmother as a wedding gift.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Sheila; later analysis shows that she's insecure and a bit cowardly, and well aware of it. Her Small Name Big Ego routine is partly a defense mechanism.
  • Spelling Song: Fudge likes to sing the letters that spell "Maine", and a few others...
    M-A-I-N-E spells Maine,
    F-U-D-G-E spells Fudgie,
    P-E-T-E-R spells Pee-tah,
    B-E-E-R spells Whiskey!
  • Spoiled Brat: Fudge certainly qualifies for this in Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing where as a toddler he's constantly coddled by his mother and his horrible behavior is excused or even brushed off. Later books address that his behavior is less and less tolerated when he gets older and becomes a big brother. Even his once precocious behavior is now treated as a hindrance after it's revealed that he's not mature enough to be in the first grade despite being skipped to kindergarten back in Superfudge.
    • Mini is a rehash of what Fudge was like when he was three years old and a now older Fudge is now in the position that he once put Peter in just three years prior. He's actually worse than Fudge was at three because Fudge at least got punished when he really acted up and could verbally communicate while Mini is barely verbal (regularly growling like an animal and even licking his father's hand) and gets away with a lot more than his older sisters due to his overly permissive parents spoiling him while being harsher on the girls.
  • The Stoic: Frank Fargo is described as this. His emotional distance is implied to have been a factor in his divorce. Tootsie, however, can make him smile.
  • Suddenly Speaking: Of a sort. When Peter and Fudge first meet their Hawaiian cousins, Mini Farley only growls and acts like an animal due to Flora and Fauna always commenting on him and acting as if he were non-verbal. When they visit in New York City a few chapters later, when Flora and Fauna go to Sheila's apartment for a slumber party, Mini starts talking for himself, and his voice surprises Peter so much he initially thinks Fudge is now trying to speak for him.
  • Swallowed a Fly: In Fudge-a-Mania, Peter believes he might have done this while riding to Bob's bicycle shop. This event makes him an honorary member of Bob's "I Swallowed a Fly" or ISAF club. The only cure, according to Bob, is vanilla ice cream.
  • Swallowed Whole: In Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Peter's pet turtle Dribble is swallowed alive by Fudge. It doesn't survive of course, but Peter's first question upon learning that the turtle is out of Fudge's system is if it's alive or dead, as he'd hoped this trope might apply.
  • The Talk: In Superfudge, Fudge gets a book from his parents explaining the birds and the bees and proceeds to share his newfound knowledge with everyone he meets. He even tells a pregnant woman on the crosstown bus, "I know what's inside you, and I know how it got there too."
  • Tantrum Throwing: Plenty of examples, largely from Fudge himself.
    • In Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Fudge wants to wear loafers like Peter does, and when they go to the shoe store, they try to explain loafers don't come in his size and try to get him saddle shoes. Fudge throws a major tantrum, crying "NO SHOES! NO! NO! NO!"
      • When Fudge receives another copy of a picture dictionary that he already owns for a birthday present, Fudge yells and throws the book across the room.
      • Later, when Peter gets upset by his brother Fudge ruining his school project poster on transportation, and he couldn't get his parents to listen to him due to their (assumed) indifference to the situation, Peter goes to his room and throws his shoe against a wall, leaving a black mark on the wall.
      • Also from the same book, Fudge gets upset when his father ends up throwing out the omelet he cooked for himself and his two sons that he threw a fork against a potted plant and knocked it over, spilling dirt from it.
    • In Fudge-a-Mania, Fudge is inspired by his new friend Mitzi's book about herself, Tell Me a Mitzi, and checks to see if the local library has a copy of Tell Me a Fudge (or "Farley"). When Fudge finds out no such book exists, he throws a big fit, right in the library. Naturally, Peter is embarrassed. Averted in the TV-movie adaptation where he just simply yells, "It's not fair!"
    • Fudge throws another shoe store tantrum in Double Fudge, but this time he wants two pairs of shoes that he likes, but his mother can only afford buying one pair at the moment. Fudge's tantrum when the mother buys only one of the pairs involves him twirling around the store like a tornado (a la Dennis the Menace) causing a big mess. When his mother finally catches up, she straps Fudge into Tootsie's stroller as punishment.
      • Peter throws a tantrum of sorts to himself on the night their Hawaiian cousins arrive at their apartment. He loses it and stomps on the cousins' towels and kicks their hairbrushes. Peter even compares his tantrum to Fudge...
        I'd turned into a raving lunatic. No, even worse — I'd turned into my brother at the shoe store!
  • Teacher's Unfavorite Student: On Fudge's first day of kindergarten, he and his new teacher Mrs. Hildebrandt start butting heads almost immediately because Mrs. Hildebrandt insists on calling him by his full name, Farley Drexel, instead of his nickname (insisting that "Fudge is a good name for candy, not a good name for a boy"), and won't let him use the round blocks on the first day. She even comments, "There's something definitely wrong with that child." The problem is solved by transferring Fudge to a different kindergarten class with a more understanding teacher, Ms. Ziff.
  • Theme Naming: Lampshaded by Peter when he notes that he now has siblings nicknamed "Fudge" and "Tootsie". He openly wonders how he got off so lucky.
    Maybe what my parents really wanted was a candy factory.
    • Cousins Flora and Fauna also count, being named for the beauties of nature, and are often nicknamed "the Natural Beauties."
  • They Just Dont Get It: When Fudge develops his money obsession, Anne and Warren assume that it's Fudge being Fudge and getting into a new "phase". Peter goes This Is Gonna Suck when he actually agrees with Sheila that Fudge doesn't understand "values" are more than monetary. Then Fudge throws a temper tantrum at a shoe store because Anne won't get him two pairs of shoes; when Anne has him strapped in Tootsie's stroller, he claims that Anne doesn't love him because she won't buy him everything he wants. Anne tries to explain that money doesn't work like that, that it doesn't grow on trees. Fudge replies he knows that; money grows from the ATM. She exasperatedly attempts to point out that you have to put money in the ATM and that comes from hard work. Peter advises her at this point to go Because I Said So because Fudge is deliberately refusing to understand.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave:
    • In Superfudge, the Hatcher family is constantly annoyed by Fudge's friend Daniel. At one point, Daniel looks ready to invite himself to stay for dinner with them, but Mrs. Hatcher tricks him into leaving by pretending that they're having peas and onions with their dinner (two foods that he hates).
    • In Double Fudge, Cousin Howie and his family overstay their welcome at the Hatchers' small apartment, even though Warren and Anne can't bring themselves to kick them out. The Howies (as Peter calls them) eventually sublet another apartment in the building for several weeks, so they still remain in the neighborhood even after they leave.
  • Third-Person Person: Fudge refers to himself by his own name or "Fudgie" in Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.
  • This Is Reality: A sobering one at the end of Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing. Peter, despite himself, keeps asking if Dribble is going to be okay after Fudge swallows his turtle. Dr. Cone is solemn when telling him gently, no, by saying maybe he should get a new turtle instead of hoping. Later, Dribble comes out of Fudge, and Muriel confirms what Dr. Cone said.
  • Traumatic Haircut: An inversion. In Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Fudge gets ahold of Peter's scissors and cuts his own hair very haphazardly. Peter and his parents are embarrassed by Fudge's appearance until his hair ultimately grows back. Fudge, however, doesn't seem to care.
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible: In-universe. Fudge-a-Mania has Peter and Fudge's little sister accidentally getting into Mr. Fargo's paint and wandering over his canvas, leaving behind little blue footprints. Mr. Fargo thinks it looks stunning and wants her to help him make more paintings. The paintings later turn out to be a huge hit, enough of one that the Fargos can move out of their one-bedroom apartment and into a new loft in Soho.
  • Underdressed for the Occasion: As noted above, Peter's grandmother and Sheila's grandfather get married in the course of the series. Their wedding attire consists of matching black and white sweatsuits.
  • The Unfavorite: Peter often feels like this, being expected to be the responsible older brother while his little brother gets away with everything. The feeling starts to fade away as Fudge gets older.
    • For Flora and Fauna, they're the unfavorites to their little brother Mini who is an almost nonverbal Spoiled Brat that gets away with anything as long as he doesn't eat candy or processed foods while their parents restrict them far more and practically police every little thing they do. When they get a taste of normalcy after sleeping over at Sheila Tubman's, they don't want to go back to Hawaii with their parents.
  • The Unreveal: It's never revealed why Fudge, at the age of three, thought that swallowing Peter's turtle Dribble was a good idea. Especially since Peter realizes that Fudge used a chair to reach the chain latch and unlock it to get into his room. Fudge finds it hilarious to recite the events as they happened until he suffers Laser-Guided Karma in Double Fudge and his cousin Mini swallows his fallen-out baby tooth just as he was about to leave it for the Tooth Fairy. Peter isn't that sympathetic, telling Fudge now he knows how it feels. This creates another unreveal as to why Mini swallowed a tooth that belonged to his cousin.
    • The TV series adds an explanation for the first incident: In addition to Juicy-O, Mr. Yarby produces a line of gourmet soups called Soupy-O, which includes turtle soup. Fudge has a taste of the soup and likes it, which makes him think Dribble will be good to eat.
  • Urine Trouble: Happens in Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing during Fudge's birthday party. When Jennie asks what Peter's turtle Dribble can do, she asks if Dribble can "make a tinkle." Then she says she can urinate as well, and demonstrates on the floor, much to Peter and Anne's horror.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: While Peter and Sheila have made it clear that they'll always hate each other, they do seem to hang around each other regardless. Pete's relationship with Jimmy Fargo also borders on this.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Anne Hatcher's desire to return to school to study art history, either at Princeton or NYU, is mentioned several times in Superfudge, but in Double Fudge, she has returned to her career as a dental hygienist.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Sheila's fear of dogs, which comes to the fore once Peter gets Turtle, but then later gets turned sideways when she gets a dog of her own. Apparently, Jake (her dog, who is female) is the exception to the rule.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Fudge. He kicked Sheila when she told him he'd eventually get used to his baby sister, and kicked his teacher when she calls him by his real name. Diminished a bit since he's also a lot younger and therefore smaller than either of them, which eliminates one major reason why this is generally considered a particularly bad thing.

Alternative Title(s): Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing, Superfudge, Fudge A Mania, Double Fudge