Genre: Family Life
Author(s): Judy Blume
Publisher: Penguin Group
Release Date: 10/01/2002
Reading Level: 8-11
Other Choices: Beezus and Ramona, Jake and Lily, Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Synopsis: Hilarious, willful Fudge meets his match.
Common Sense Rates It:
Parents need to know
Parents need to know that Double Fudge is the fifth and most recent book in Judy Blume's series of Fudge books about the Hatcher family: Mr. and Mrs. Hatcher; eldest son Peter; middle child Farley Drexel (aka "Fudge"); and baby daughter Tootsie. In this installment, Fudge's newfound obsession with money leads to some hilarious situations, and puts the Hatchers in the path of their long-lost Hawaiian cousins. The book takes an honest, funny look at the value of money and other basic "family values," such as how to educate one's children, what foods kids should eat, and whether any TV is too much. A situation where Fudge's pet is injured could be (temporarily) alarming to small children. A different sort of upsetting situation involves Jimmy Fargo's parents, who have been divorced for a while; Peter and his friend Jimmy talk seriously about what it means for Jimmy's dad to date. Also note: This book may debunk the existence of the Tooth Fairy.
- Families can talk about Fudge's fixation with money. Why are his parents worried about this? Who in this book do you think has the right idea about the value of money? What did you learn about money from reading Double Fudge?
- How do you think Double Fudge compares with the other books in the "Fudge" series? Is it as funny? Funnier?
- Peter and Fudge's parents have different ideas about child raising. Who do you think is right about candy? Or TV?
What's the story?
In the fifth installment in Judy Blume's series of "Fudge" books, 5-year-old Farley Drexel "Fudge" Hatcher develops a fascination with money, prompting his parents to worry about the values they've imparted to their children. To teach Fudge some real facts about money, the Hatchers decide to take Fudge to Washington, D.C., to visit the Bureau of Printing and Engraving. The trip is less than successful in its mission, but the Hatchers coincidentally meet up with Mr. Hatcher's long-lost cousin, Howie, who's traveling with his own family: his wife, Eudora; daughters, Flora and Fauna; and 3-year-old son who is also named Farley Drexel. The meeting results in a hilarious culture/values clash as "the Howies" (as Peter calls them) descend on New York City and Fudge has some real competition for the world's most impossible little brother.
Is it any good?
Judy Blume outdoes herself with Double Fudge. Aptly named, this book is easily twice as funny as the previous book, Fudge-a-Mania, with the introduction of the entertaining "Howies." Parents and kids will laugh at the way this book pokes fun at nouvel parenting ideas (no candy, no TV, no sleepovers), and kids will feel Peter's pain when his cousins embarrass him at school as well as at home. As always, Blume also manages to sneak in a few lessons along the way: Fudge may have a lot of fun thinking about money, but his real little heart shows when Uncle Feather is hurt. Both Peter and Fudge are believable, lovable characters, and this volume of the Fudge chronicles takes the humor to a new level.
The Good Stuff
Messages: Like the other books in Judy Blume's "Fudge" series, Double Fudge imparts a message about love and family -- that family members can still love each other and care for each other even when they don't appear to get along. Peter loves his annoying little brother, Fudge, very much, even when Fudge drives him crazy. Through Fudge's hilarious obsession with money, the book also sends a strong message about the importance of living within one's means, and the value of intangibles like love and safety over material things.
Educational Value: Double Fudge, Judy Blume's fifth and most recent in her series of "Fudge" books, teaches children some basic principles and values about money: where it is printed, how responsible grown-ups manage their money, and some of the social mores surrounding discussing money. Readers will also learn about urban life in New York City and a few animal facts. Kids in the book receive some information about protecting themselves from "stranger danger."
Role Models: Mr. and Mrs. Hatcher do their best to convince Fudge that "money doesn't grow on trees," and that the most important things in life have nothing to do with money. While it doesn't seem to make much of an impression on the 5-year-old in the book, readers can see that Fudge's parents set a fine example. Fudge's friend Richie is apparently very wealthy and looks down on the middle-class Hatcher family's relative poverty. Mr. Hatcher's cousin Howie introduces another style of parenting in a judging, cartoonish way: He homeschools his children, and he doesn't allow his children to have any candy, packaged foods, or TV.
What to watch out for
Violence & scariness: A worrisome situation arises when Fudge's pet myna bird, Uncle Feather, injures himself.
Sexy stuff: Mr. Hatcher's cousin Howie and his wife, Eudora, are expecting a baby, and Fudge tells everyone that he knows how the baby "got inside." Howie is taken aback when Fudge talks about marrying his neighbor Sheila and explains that they haven't slept in the same bed.
Language: Not an issue
Consumerism: Not an issue
Drinking, drugs & smoking: Not an issue