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.
- Hardback | 80 pages
- 172.72 x 215.9 x 22.86mm | 181.44g
- 01 Sep 2004
- HOUGHTON MIFFLIN
- Boston, MA, United States
- 1-Simul ed.
- Illustrations, unspecified
"Will take its place with the books that endure."--"Saturday Review""Written with rare intuition and pictured with warm sympathy and charm."--"The Horn Book""No young person . . . will ever forget it."--"Book Week"
Our customer reviews
Madeline (Maddie) is in Miss Mason's Room 13 at school, along with her best friend, Peggy, who is the most popular girl in school. Another girl in class is Wanda Petronski, who lives in Boggins Heights, the "bad section" of town, is very quiet, and seems to have difficulty reading. Wanda wears the same faded blue dress that doesn't hang right to school every day. Once when someone asked her if that was the only dress she had, she replied that she had a hundred dresses hanging in her closet. After that, Peggy began teasing her by asking her every day how many dresses she had, and even Maddie, while she somehow feels uncomfortable about it, joins in the teasing. They're really not intending to be mean or cruel. Then one day Wanda isn't in school. Peggy and Maddie have waited outside to tease her again, and when she doesn't come they are a little late. In fact, Wanda is missing for several days. However, a picture that she has drawn for the school's coloring contest wins a medal. Maddie and Peggy even climb up the hill to the Petronski house in Boggins Heights on a cold, rainy day to see if Wanda is there. Were there really a hundred dresses? How does Maddie feel when the class receives a letter telling them that Wanda, her father, and her brother Jake have moved from their house in Boggins Heights to another city where there will be no more teasing about their funny name. And what can Maddie do to assuage her feelings of guilt? The author's daughter says that during World War I her mother went to elementary school with a poor classmate who was taunted because she wore the same dress to school every day and her Polish name was unusual. The little girl moved away to New York City in the middle of the school year, and Eleanor Estes never had the opportunity to tell her that she was sorry. Helena Estes writes, "Was the character Maddie based on my mother? Probably." This tender and touching story, which won a Newbery Honor Award in 1945, teaches children some very important lessons. Some might tend to focus on the negatives of bullying, racism, and ethnic stereotypes, but the real value of the book is in illustrating the meaning of kindness, generosity, compassion, and understanding. I highly recommend it.show moreby Wayne S. Walker