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DOUBLE FUDGE by Judy Blume

DOUBLE FUDGE

By Judy Blume

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-525-46926-5
Publisher: Dutton

Fudge Hatcher and his friends are back in the fifth installment of Blume’s popular series. Five-year-old Fudge’s newest obsession is money; he wants it so badly he even resorts to printing some of his own. On his first day of school, he finds a new friend, Richie Potter, who is endlessly interesting to Fudge: he’s wealthy and not embarrassed to talk about money the way Fudge’s family is. In order to take away some of the mystique about money, Fudge’s parents plan a family trip to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. This does little to stem his interest, but it does allow Fudge’s father to run into a long-lost relative, Howie. This convenient coincidence pushes the narrative away from the story of Fudge and money to a rather unbelievable storyline. Howie’s family is made up of his pregnant wife Eudora, 12-year-old twins Flora and Fauna (also known as “the natural beauties”), and four-year-old Farley Drexel Hatcher, which is also Fudge’s real name. Howie insists on calling Fudge’s father Tubby, a not-so-subtle reference to Mr. Hatcher’s rotund childhood shape. The meandering plot turns into National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation when the homeschooling Hawaiian Hatchers invite themselves to stay in the already-crowded apartment shared by Peter, Fudge, baby Tootsie, and their parents. The apartment is strained to the breaking point as the pushy visitors overstay their welcome, invite themselves to Peter’s school, and try everyone’s patience. Too much is going on here, both in the Hatcher household and in Blume’s story. Many of the plot strands are left hanging or are too neatly tied up. There’s the bird who mysteriously loses his power to speak, and the artist whose paintings are made up of baby’s footprints in paint. Add to that the Hawaiian cousins who sing showtunes. A few laughs can not redeem this busy, surprisingly unfunny book. (Fiction. 8-12)