The book starts off when Peter wins a turtle at Jimmy Fargo's birthday party. He names the turtle Dribble. Peter introduces his family and the concepts of Fudge and his habits. When Peter's father's business clients stay at their apartment for the night, Fudge annoys them by decorating their suitcase with green stamps, prompting them to remove the account from the company. Then Fudge decides not to eat and later adds pretending he is the family dog and wanting to eat on the floor. A week later, the father’s patience is broken and he dumps a bowl of cornflakes over Fudge's head, leading to Fudge's new favorite phrase, "Eat it or wear it!". While being watched by Sheila Tubman on the playground in Central Park, Fudge jumps off the jungle gym, thinking he can fly, crashing to the ground and swallowing his top two front teeth in the process, and Peter gives Fudge a new nickname, Fang, which is not amusing to his mother. Peter is asked by her to supervise Fudge's third birthday party, which ends up with some amusing and disastrous moments. Then his mother takes the kids to some errands. First she takes Fudge to the dentist to check on how his teeth are progressing again after the accident. Then Fudge throws a temper tantrum in a shoe store, since he wants to buy loafers like Peter is getting. His mother is fed up when Fudge smears his mashed potatoes on the wall of a restaurant and dumps a plate of peas over his head.
In January, Peter, Jimmy and Sheila are grouped for a class project which they are constantly arguing over, but Peter then finds out Fudge has made the situation more difficult by scribbling on the poster part of their project work. Then Peter finds out Fudge has been spanked by his mother, who finds out about what Fudge did to the poster. Then when the project is finally finished, Fudge cuts off his hair (as he thinks of himself as a barber, and the next day Peter gets a lock for his door. Two months later his mom finds out about her...
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