Study Guide

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing Tone

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Playful and Light

Even though some tough stuff happens in Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing—like the death of a much beloved pet—Peter keeps the tone playful and light. He doesn't linger on the problems, and bounces back at the end of every chapter.

You know, the way fourth-graders tend to do.

Even when his dad loses the Juicy-O account, everyone in the family recovers pretty quickly:

The next week my father came home from the office and collected all the cans of Juicy-O in our house. He dumped them into the garbage. My mother felt bad that my father had lost such an important account. But my father told her not to worry […].

"You know, Dad," I said. "I only drank Juicy-O to be polite. I really hated it."

"You know something funny, Peter?" my father said. "I thought it was pretty bad myself." (2.109-111)

The playful tone reflects the Hatcher family's take on life. They don't take things too seriously and are all very resilient. They have to be, with a toddler like Fudge. Because they're such a cohesive family unit, they manage to get through the hard times together, and that's mirrored in the tone of the book.

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