The story opens with Laurie abandoning his infant's clothes and walking off to kindergarten in a more grown-up outfit of jeans.
He forgets to say goodbye to his mother when stopping at the corner.
In the first of many daily reports about a naughty boy at kindergarten named Charles, Laurie tells his parents that today, the teacher spanked Charles for being "fresh." After Laurie's second day at kindergarten, he reports that Charles hit the teacher and was spanked again. Laurie behaves rudely to his father, Mr. Hyman.
Laurie announces that Charles was so good that the teacher gave him an apple and called him her "helper." Mr. and Mrs. Hyman can hardly believe this sudden reformation. Mr. Hyman thinks that Charles is merely plotting more wicked deeds.
Laurie's mother attends a PTA meeting alone. There, she speaks with Laurie's teacher, who reveals that Laurie has been having trouble in school and that there is no Charles.
"Charles? We don't have a Charles in Kindergarten."