By Judy Blume
Attention-stealing little brothers got their due 30 years ago in Blume’s wildly entertaining children’s bestseller Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. In Double Fudge, the fifth entry in the series (and the first since 1990), Peter Hatcher, 12, continues his bemused reports on the exploits of his younger sibling Farley “Fudge” Drexel Hatcher. Now 5 (he was a toddler in the first book), Fudge is a budding Alex P. Keaton, prone to statements like, “My money is all mine. I love my money!” When long-lost relatives from Honolulu arrive to crash in the Hatchers’ Manhattan apartment, though, they bring a second Fudge: their son, also named Farley Drexel Hatcher.
Parents raised on Blume’s books will find this Fudge stale, and so will their kids. Peter, a seventh grader, still acts like a fourth-grade nothing; the story is slapdash, and Fudge has turned tame: Where he once swallowed Peter’s pet turtle, he now leaves a shoe on the subway. Yawn. (Dutton Children’s Books, $15.99)
Bottom Line: Stick with the classics—this Fudge has gone bad