Peter Hatcher is immensely devastated upon the revelation of his mother's sudden pregnancy, fearing that the unborn child will develop exasperating behavioral habits and phases like those exhibited by his younger brother Fudge, whom he intensely abhors. To Peter's relief, the new baby Tamara proves to...
Peter Hatcher is immensely devastated upon the revelation of his mother's sudden pregnancy, fearing that the unborn child will develop exasperating behavioral habits and phases like those exhibited by his younger brother Fudge, whom he intensely abhors. To Peter's relief, the new baby Tamara proves to be much better behaved than Fudge; however, the reduced amount of attention Fudge receives after her birth antagonizes him into conspiring against his sister through committing misdeeds such as hiding her and covering her in stamps. Fortunately, this hostile animosity is overcome with time; however, to Peter's dismay, their parents unveil their plans to temporarily relocate from Manhattan to Princeton, New Jersey for the year in pursuit of Warren Hatcher's plan to write a book.
Luckily, Peter's unhappiness in his new location is quenched after becoming acquainted with a local boy named Alex Santo, and the pair keeps themselves busy by gathering earthworms for an eccentric, elderly neighborhood woman rumored to eat them. His mood is also uplifted by his newly developed infatuation with a girl named Joanne McFadden. Fudge, however, continues to demonstrate his usual uncontrollable behavior and tantrums, to the extent of being relocated to a different kindergarten class after having kicked his teacher . He also adopts a pet myna bird, naming it Uncle Feather and befriends a boy named Daniel Manheim. The year continues ordinarily, with Fudge making the shocking revelation of his limited faith in Santa Claus and meeting his favorite storybook author, Brian Tumkin. Toward the conclusion of the family's stay in Princeton, Fudge, devastated over his brother's prohibiting him from accompanying him on a picnic with Alex, stuns the Hatchers by running away from home alongside Daniel on his bicycle, worrying the family to the extent of Peter showing fear for his brother's life. Luckily, Fudge and Daniel thrive well on their trip, purchasing brownies from a local bakery and splitting a sandwich, as mentioned by Daniel in his recount of their experience. However, they are disciplined for their dangerous actions through the temporary confiscation of their bicycles. With that crisis behind them, the Hatchers unanimously decide to return to New York after Tootsie has spoken her first words: "Nu Yuck!"