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The Hundred Dresses

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4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  18,799 ratings  ·  1,384 reviews
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 mercile...more
Paperback, 80 pages
Published September 1st 2004 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1944)
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Community Reviews

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Ruth
Sep 20, 2013 Ruth rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all
This book has remained in my memory because it speaks to many of the issues that children deal with today. The main character wears the same outfit everyday, and yet claims to have a hundred. Due to her claim of having a hundred dresses, the students ridcule her. Sadly, the students merely see the physical,where as the main character sees beyond the physical. Though in the physical she was not attired with the hundred dresses,in her imagination and drawings she was and that was sufficient for he...more
Jeana
This book is heartbreaking. The Hundred Dresses is a really short, mid-grade book about a girl Wanda who tells some other girls in her class that she has 100 beautiful dresses at home, "all lined up in her closet," even though she wears the same, faded blue dress to school every day. One girl Peggy relentlessly teases her about her 100 dresses, while her best friend Maggie stands by and lets it happen. I cried through the end. Maybe it's because I have a similar story from my childhood that stil...more
Clare Cannon
A highly recommended story that speaks powerfully to girls about friendship and forgiveness, with simple, child-like drawings that reflect the understated feel of the tale itself. It is a story that truly enlarges the heart and is sure to be passed around among friends.
Ewelina Ostrowska
The 100 Dresses is a story about about hope and perseverance even when one's life situation gets difficult. Peggy and Maddie, two girls from the novel are the first to notice Wanda Petronski’s, the main character's absence because she’d made them late for school. They’d been waiting for her on their walk to “have fun with her.” They didn’t realize she’d already been absent for two days.

Wanda lived with her father and her brother Jake in Boggins Heights. As poor, Polish immigrants, the family was...more
Kathryn
I just love these books that were written years ago and are still wonderful. The story is really about bullying but I don't think that was even a word in 1944. The story carries a strong message and the artwork is so unique and wonderful.
Sarah
Mar 09, 2010 Sarah rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: grades 3-5
Recommended to Sarah by: other staff
Soon after starting at a new school, Wanda becomes the focus of a daily taunting by the other girls. Wanda wears the same—albeit clean and pressed—blue dress to school every day and, on top of that, the kids think that she has a strange last name: “Petronski.” On the way to school one day, Wanda feels less shy than normal and whispers to Peggy, the prettiest and most popular girl in class, that she has one hundred dresses at home in her closet. Clearly, she’s not telling the truth, but Peggy doe...more
Sara
Nice short read with an important reminder. Our Relief Society is reading it for an upcoming activity. I have to admit that it left me very depressed. I grew up being teased or neglected a lot by my peers, so reading this made me feel like the heartache was fresh. And my present financial circumstances currently mean I have only one nice shirt I can wear to church, and I know people have noticed that I have to wear it every week (though they thankfully don't tease me about it). I found myself ge...more
The Library Lady
Wanda Petronski is Polish in a classroom full of "American" girls. They have many pretty dresses, and Wanda wears the same faded dress to school every day. When she tells the girls she has 100 dresses, she is jeered at and mocked. But Wanda DOES have 100 dresses, and when the girls learn the truth behind her story, they get an eye opening lesson on prejudice.
This is a simple story, simply told. It takes place many years ago. But change a few details, and it is a story that is (sadly) as relevant...more
Amy
Summary: This chapter book tells of a fictional story that was based on a real life childhood experience of the author. This story is narrated from a third person limited view point. It tells of how a young Polish girl was taunted by two other girls because she claimed to have 100 dresses even though she wore the exact same shabby blue one every day. When the girl is suddenly gone, the girls become sympathetic and ashamed of their behavior, but there is a stark contrast in how they deal with the...more
Kathy Roderer
The Hundred Dresses is a perfect story to introduce a discussion of bullying in school, from many points of view. Wanda is a girl who is made fun of because she wears the same dress every day to school. She tells the other girls that she has a hundred dresses at home and describes them in great detail. The girls, led by the most popular girl in the class, continue to make fun of her for making up tales. Due to the constant name calling and put-downs of their family, Wanda’s family eventually mov...more
L11_Laura
This is a classic book to read with a group of young girls to discuss bullying. In this book, Wanda wears the same blue dress to school everyday, but tells her classmates that she has one hundred dresses hanging in her closet at home. This results in endless bullying by the female classmates in her class. Only one student, Maddie, feels sad inside and thinks about the consequences of her actions and how Wanda must feel. When Wanda never returns to school again, Maddie feels terrible. Wanda ends...more
Linda Lipko
This 1945 Newbery honor publication packs a powerful message in a mere 81 pages. Perfectly written and illustrated, there was no need for the author to continue; she was able to send a clear, strong, effective message without exaggerated hyperbole.

Written in 1944, as Europe was reeling from the awful horror of mans inhumanity to man, Eleanor Estes wrote a heart-wrenching book of the evil pursuit and bullying of a small, poor, Polish American immigrant child.

Motherless, quiet, shy Wanda Petronski...more
Kat
Mar 28, 2012 Kat rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
The Hundred Dresses is a story that on the surface seems to be written for children. But the message this story has to give can be (and should be) used everywhere.

In this story Wanda, a Polish immigrant, is trying to fit in with the other children at her school. On the surface (again) she has nothing in common with them, yet just as she doesn't quite fit in with the others, neither does Maddie, a girl who is also poor, but definitely not in the same financial place as Wanda. When Wanda says she...more
Daniela
Grade Level: 3rd
Main Characters: Wanda Potronski, Peggy, and Maddie
Setting: Boggin Heights, Connecticut
POV: Third person

Summary:
This is a story about a Polish-American girl named Wanda Petronski who goes to a school in the rural town of Boggin Heights, Connecticut. Wanda is made fun of because of her last name, and eventually the fact that she tells the girls at school that she has one hundred dresses. The girls know this is a lie because everyday Wanda comes to school in the same faded blue dre...more
Arwen
May 20, 2009 Arwen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Children
An excellent book about standing up for what is right and the unintentional harm that we can cause to others. This book truly resonates with me.
Shannon Amici
Reading Level- 2-6

Genre- Fiction

Topic- Bullying

Social- "Treat one another as you want to be treated". Teaches acceptance and respect. Forgiveness.

Curricula Use-Read aloud

Literary elements-Symbolism

Text & Pictures- Not many illustrations. The book could be told without them

Summary- "The Hundred Dresses" is about a little girl Wanda who is bullied because she wears the same pale blue dress to school. She told the other girls at school that she has one hundred dresses at home. Everyone laughs...more
Mary
Non-Print Audio
Book on CD
Recommended for Ages 6-12

Amazon.com Review of Book
Wanda Petronski lives way up in shabby Boggins Heights, and she doesn't have any friends. Every day she wears a faded blue dress, which wouldn't be too much of a problem if she didn't tell her schoolmates that she had a hundred dresses at home--all silk, all colors, and velvet, too. This lie--albeit understandable in light of her dress-obsessed circle--precipitates peals of laughter from her peers, and she never hears th...more
Lissa Chandler
I thought this was going to be a Holocaust book, but it ended up being a sadly sweet story about three little girls: a mean girl, a silent accomplice, and a quiet girl who is being teased. What I liked about this is that I think it could be interpreted several different ways- maybe Wanda didn't fully understand that the girls were making fun of her, maybe she had been drawing dresses for years to make up for the fact that she only wore one, or maybe she fully understood what the girls were doing...more
Laura
It was Peggy who started the game. And, now, Maddie wishes she hadn’t. At first it was fun – Wanda’s claim was so ridiculous – but now it just seems as though they’re torturing Wanda for no good reason. Now, Maddie is beginning to feel sorry for Wanda. But she can’t help but wonder – why does Wanda so forthrightly assert that she has a hundred dresses at home? Surely she knows that we all know how poor her family is? And if she wanted to conflate her importance, why didn’t she pick a realistic n...more
Stephanie
My goodness. My youngest and I just finished reading it. When we started the book, the other children were in the room while we read aloud, and soon, they were pulled in to the sad story of Wanda, who is a little girl ridiculed in the school yard for her poverty. Oddly enough, the main character of this story is only referred to in flashbacks, but you grow to love her in her absence. My kids felt so sorry for her as the story progressed, and I found them guessing at random times throughout the w...more
Emily
Sweet little book that made me weep uncontrollably as a child. Reading it as an adult, I just felt sad and thoughtful because I remember people making fun of me just like the little girl in the book.

Ok, so our situations were not identical. The girl in the book was foreign. I was not from a foreign country, however I was almost as weird as a foreign kid. The little girl in the book only had one dress. I had three. Ok, so technically they were shirts, but they were the kind with skirts on them an...more
Helen
Some of the Newbery Honor Books that I have read have been dated. I don't see their relevance. But this one was definitely different.

Released in 1944 you would think it would not have anything to say in 2009. Well think again. I read it from cover to cover in less than thirty minutes.

Today bullying is a big topic both in school and out. Actually it's a big topic beyond the schoolyard. This lowkey story of a young girl being made fun of subtlely has much to say even today.

A young girl from a poor...more
thewanderingjew
This book should be read with an adult because the lessons it provides about good behavior and mutual respect are invaluable. It is simply written, the drawings are poignant and the language is not complicated.
When my daughter asked me to read this lovely little story, she made the assumption that I would have known it as a child since it was written in the 1940’s. If I read it as a child, it would have been about 5-10 years later than its published date; truthfully, I do not remember it, but th...more
Holly
I read this years ago, but reread it since some teachers in my building were reading it aloud to their fourth graders as the first read aloud of the year. It's such a heartbreaking story of Wanda Petronski, a Polish immigrant girl with a "funny" name and raggedy (but clean) dress. After saying she has a hundred dresses all lined up in her closet one day at recess, and 60 pairs of shoes, she becomes the object of ridicule by Peggy and her posse. The story is told in third person, but focuses on t...more
LaSchelle
Feb 22, 2009 LaSchelle rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone, but especially girls and young women
Recommended to LaSchelle by: Grandma Pooh
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aine
This book is one of my favorites from childhood. I have a hardback edition that I bought to share with my girls. Some stories are timeless. Even the story behind the story is touching as well as inspiring! In the hardback edition, the author's daughter writes a little note. I love this part:

"Years ago, I asked my mother why she had written the story. She told me about a classmate in her elementary school who had been taunted because she wore the same dress to school every day, and because her Po...more
Melissa
In third grade, I was Peggy, the character in Eleanor Estes’ book, The Hundred Dresses. I don’t remember why, but I was mean to a little girl named Kristen. So much so, that my parents, her parents and the teacher all became involved in trying to resolve the conflict. Still, 30+ years later, I’m troubled by my actions, and why I acted so cruelly. Which is why The Hundred Dresses is such a timeless book – and shows us how the power of words can be used for such good and such harm.

Our third grade...more
Etta Mcquade
Written with warm sympathy and charm, this is a book that touches one's heart. I'm glad I grew up in a community where your last name, whether Polish (which mine was), Italian, or Swedish, didn't matter. But, Maddie, who struggles to make her compassion known, caused me to remember a mistake I made in grade school and have never forgotten. A boy in our sixth grade had a hare-lip and couldn't speak clearly. One day he did something that angered me, and I shouted, "Why don't you learn to talk righ...more
Liz
The ending is upsetting, even though you feel like it shouldn't be. The girls make nice. But it just isn't the resolution you are hoping for. I guess the author did that on purpose. Otherwise, how much thought, would you really give such a book.

I think the most profound aspect of the story is that I've (and I'd imagine all readers) have at one point been a Wanda. The butt of someone's joke. A Peggy. You publicly tease someone without second thought on how much it breaks their heart. And possibl...more
Nevada Libert
good book,i love how two school girls realised that making fun of people did not feel good and how they learned that just because people did not have as good of a life like them that it was not ok to tease people or make fun of them.
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Eleanor Ruth Rosenfeld (Estes)was an American children's author. She was born in West Haven, Connecticut as Eleanor Ruth Rosenfield. Originally a librarian, Estes' writing career began following a case of tuberculosis. Bedridden while recovering, Estes began writing down some of her childhood memories, which would later turn into full-length children's books.

Estes's book Ginger Pye (1951) won the...more
More about Eleanor Estes...
Ginger Pye (The Pyes, #1) The Moffats (The Moffats, #1) The Witch Family The Middle Moffat (The Moffats, #2) Pinky Pye (The Pyes, #2)

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“After a long, long time she reached an important conclusion. She was never going to stand by and say nothing again.” 9 likes
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