This story is told from the perspective of Shelia Tubman. Shelia lives in New York City with her parents and her older sister, Libby. Once Shelia hears the news that her family is renting a house in Tarrytown she becomes very scared, even though on the outside she pretends to be fearless and great at everything. She is very afraid of dogs and her father says the professor who they are renting the house from has a dog named Jennifer. There is also a pool down the street from the house. Shelia has a phobia of swimming. She’ll drown! One good thing is that there is a day camp and Shelia doesn’t have to share a room with Libby. Once she and her family get to Tarrytown Shelia vows to stay far away from Jennifer. Her room belongs to a boy because the professor has three boys. She wasn’t used to sleeping in a room by herself, so she would never be able to sleep at night because of “scary” noises.
Shelia meets a girl named Merle (Mouse) Ellis. Mouse told Shelia all about the professor’s boys. Soon after that Shelia meets Mouse’s family and Mouse’s friends, Jane and Sondra, who are twins. Mouse even tried to teach Sheila how to yo-yo. Meanwhile, at day camp Sheila decides to run a newspaper with no help at all. She made a crossword puzzle in the paper and said she’d offer a prize to whoever completed it first. She gave the boys who won the entire newspaper business! Her mom signed her up for swimming lessons. Her teacher, Marty, taught her well because Sheila learned to swim. Jennifer got pregnant and the father is the neighbor’s dog. Shelia gets over her fear of Jennifer and the Tubman’s got to keep a puppy. Sheila had a sleepover with her friends and the Tubman’s had a farewell cookout and they invited everyone! In all, Shelia learned a lot and had a great time in Tarrytown.
This book is told from the perspective of Peter Hatcher. Twelve year old Peter still lives with his parents and five year old brother, Fudge, in New York City. He is livid with his parents when they decide to have another baby. Peter hated the idea of having another Fudge but it was too late! His mother is already four months pregnant. His mom ends up having a girl and they name her Tamera, but want to call her Tootsie. Peter hates it that both of his siblings are nicknamed after candy. It’s embarrassing! Then his parents announce that the whole family is moving to Princeton for a whole year. They would rent a house there then decide if they wanted to live there permanently. Great, moving away from his friends and school and life! Peter didn’t like the idea of moving, but when they went he actually liked it. Fudge went through another phase where he wouldn’t sleep in his room because he was afraid monsters would eat him. Peter met a boy his age named Alex who lived in his new neighborhood in Princeton. Alex sold worms to one of their neighbors, Mrs. Muldour, and Peter started to get in on it too. Fudge made a friend named Daniel. Peter was fine at his new school, but Fudge, on the other hand, had to switch kindergarten classrooms because his first teacher wouldn’t call him Fudge. In the next classroom he did much better and his mother got him a bird because of it. He got a Myna bird and named him Uncle Feather. The bird learned to say “Shut up,” “Stupid,” and “Hello” in French. Also, since he was a Myna bird he could repeat everything. Meanwhile, Peter’s best friend from New York, Jimmy Fargo, visited. They got into an argument over the phone, but they made up shortly. The Saturday Jimmy visited Peter, Alex, Jimmy, Fudge, and Daniel all went to the movies to see Superman. Once Peter got Fudge and Daniel settled into some seats up front Peter and his friends went to go sit somewhere else behind them. The boys ran into some girls from the school Peter and Alex were attending. So, Peter, Alex, Jimmy, Sharon, Elaine, and Joanne all sat together.
By the end of the movie Peter and Joanne were holding hands. During the classroom Christmas party Joanne and Peter were caught under the mistletoe. They kissed each other in the same place – on the cheek. For Christmas Peter got pretty much everything he wanted. When February came Tootsie celebrated her first birthday! Fudge got to help Brain Tumkin who was a children’s author. He met him at the school assembly and helped him on stage. When Fudge found out he couldn’t go to the lake with Peter and Alex, he and Daniel ran away with the bikes they got for Christmas. They also took all of their money. When both families found the boys they were by the highway. Their bikes were taken away for a whole month! By the end of the book Tootsie said her first word, “Yuck” and the Hatcher’s decided to move back to New York City.