Study Guide

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing Chapter 4

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Chapter 4

My Brother the Bird

  • The Hatchers live near Central Park, but Peter's only allowed to play there without parental supervision if his friends are going to be there, too.
  • After all, his friend Jimmy Fargo has already been mugged three times. He even had to go to the police station to look at mug shots, which Peter thinks is pretty cool.
  • Even Mr. Hatcher has been mugged in the subway, which is why Mrs. Hatcher doesn't take the subway anymore.
  • Because the Hatchers live on the west side of the park, they have to walk all the way across and over to the east side if they want to go to the zoo or see the pony carts, which is what Fudge loves.
  • And on Sundays, the park is closed to traffic, which means that Fudge can ride his Toddle-Bike around and make motorcycle noises.
  • One sunny afternoon, Peter and Jimmy Fargo go to the park together. They're the only kids from school who live on the same block, except for Sheila.
  • Sheila lives in Peter's building, but he's not about to be friends with her because she's a girl. Maybe she's got cooties.
  • Peter's mother is always going on and on about how smart Sheila is, and how she's going to be a real beauty someday. This is crazy talk to Peter, who doesn't think that Sheila is beautiful at all.
  • Peter and Jimmy typically play on some rocks in Central Park, but when they get there, Sheila's already sitting on a rock and reading a book.
  • To make matters worse, Fudge comes tearing down the path chasing some pigeons, with their mother a little way behind him.
  • Their mother says that she can't deal with Fudge right now, and Sheila offers to watch him for a while.
  • Mrs. Hatcher asks if Sheila can just keep an eye on Fudge for ten minutes while she runs back home to turn on the oven. No big deal, right?
  • Peter and Jimmy get roped into watching Fudge too, and they all head over to the playground together.
  • The kids are all messing around while Fudge climbs up to the top of the jungle gym. Then he calls down to them and says he's a bird, flapping his wings.
  • Peter runs toward him, but it's too late—Fudge has already jumped. He lands on the ground and starts crying and bleeding all over the place.
  • Sheila starts crying because she's afraid that she'll get in trouble (since she was in charge of babysitting Fudge), and Jimmy notices that Fudge's two top teeth are missing.
  • While Peter tries to clean up Fudge, Sheila searches on the ground for his missing teeth, and Jimmy runs back to the apartment to get help.
  • Mrs. Hatcher gets there and tells Sheila that it's not her fault. But as they're walking home, she yells at Peter and tells him that she's disappointed in him; this is all his fault. How unfair is that?
  • That night, Peter's so angry that he doesn't eat much of his dinner and has a hard time falling asleep.
  • He's pretty sure that his mother cares way more about Fudge than she cares about him.
  • The next morning, Peter's mom comes into his room and apologizes for taking her frustration out on him, and says that the whole accident would have probably happened even if she was there.
  • Then Peter tells his mother that Fudge jumped because he thought he was a bird, and they both can't help but laugh at the absurdity of it all.

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