How to Build Character Through Books!

The Hundred Dresses

The Hundred Dresses

The Hundred Dresses won a Newbery Honor in 1945 and has never been out of print since. At the heart of the story is Wanda Petronski, a Polish girl in a Connecticut school who is ridiculed by her classmates for wearing the same faded blue dress every day.

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About the Book

Eleanor Estes’s The Hundred Dresses won a Newbery Honor in 1945 and has never been out of print since. At the heart of the story is Wanda Petronski, a Polish girl in a Connecticut school who is ridiculed by her classmates for wearing the same faded blue dress every day.

Wanda claims she has one hundred dresses at home, but everyone knows she doesn’t and bullies her mercilessly. The class feels terrible when Wanda is pulled out of the school, but by that time it’s too late for apologies.

Maddie, one of Wanda’s classmates, ultimately decides that she is “never going to stand by and say nothing again.”

This powerful, timeless story has been reissued with a new letter from the author’s daughter Helena Estes, and with the Caldecott artist Louis Slobodkin’s original artwork in beautifully restored color.

About the Author:

Eleanor Estes (1906-1988) grew up in West Haven, Connecticut, which she renamed Cranbury for her classic stories about the Moffat and Pye families. A children’s librarian for many years, she launched her writing career with the publication of The Moffats in 1941. Two of her outstanding books about the Moffats—Rufus M. and The Middle Moffat—were awarded Newbery Honors, as was her short novel The Hundred Dresses. She won the Newbery Medal for Ginger Pye. Read more about her here.A Few Reviews:

“As a teacher, I recommend this book to boys and girls alike. I hold it up to the class and tell them I will read a little bit of it to them. As always, the boys say “Yuck!” or cringe. Everyone thinks this is a story about a fashion show judging by its cover. Next, I tell them it’s about bullying. Then, they all stop and stare. By the time I finish reading the first chapter, and I tell them we have to go on to the next lesson, ALL of the students are begging me to continue reading! Even the boys! I do have to note, however, that there are some things in it that may need to be explained since it was written so long ago (1940’s). For example, I usually have to explain about the significance of the snide remark from a student/narrator made about Wanda having mud on her shoes. She comes from the “poor side of town” where the streets aren’t paved and has to walk to school everyday; there isn’t a school bus to take her to school. Or explain the reason why Wanda’s dress isn’t properly ironed (no mother to show her how to do it). But please do NOT let that keep you from purchasing it! It is a wonderful opportunity for the students to learn about the “culture” of the times! Students are enthralled by learning about those times through these discussions and love to compare and contrast it with their lives! I noticed some reviews said it was boring but parents and teachers might have missed the opportunity to have a wonderful discussion as I mentioned above. Most importantly, we discuss how the importance of Forgiveness is mentioned in the book not just the bullying.” -Amazon Reviewer Gscee


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