Study Guide

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing Setting

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New York, New York

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing takes place in New York City. Peter and his family have a classic New York lifestyle. They live in an apartment building and use taxis to get around. Central Park is Peter's "backyard":

We live near Central Park. On nice days I like to play there after school. I'm allowed to walk over by myself as long as I'm going to be with friends. (4.1)

The hustle and bustle of the city serves as an interesting backdrop to Peter's tales. We get to see his father working in a high-rise building, the neighborhood kids coming over to each other's apartments to hang out, and even the hassle of having downstairs neighbors who complain about noise—which happens when Fudge's third birthday party rolls around:

Then the doorbell rang. It was Mrs. Rudder. She lives in the apartment right under us. She wanted to know what was going on. She said it sounded like her ceiling was about to crash in on her any second.

My mother explained that Fudge was having a little birthday party and wouldn't she like to stay for piece of cake? (5.65-66)

The New York City of Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing isn't a dystopian, grim place like Gotham City. It's a busy, fun place where kids can still be kids and play outside even though they have to take an elevator to get there. Peter doesn't think it's unusual at all; he's a city kid through and through.

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