This Newbery Honor classic, illustrated by a Caldecott Medalist, is a beautifully written tribute to the power of kindness, acceptance, and standing up for what's right. Wanda Petronski is ridiculed by her classmates for wearing the same faded blue dress every day. She claims she has one hundred dresses at home, but everyone knows she doesn’t. When Wanda is pulled out of school one day, the class feels terrible, and classmate Maddie decides that she is "never going to stand by and say nothing again." A timeless, gentle tale about bullies, bystanders, and having the courage to speak up.
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 Newbery Medal, and three of her other books (The Middle Moffat, Rufus M., and The Hundred Dresses) were chosen as Newbery Honor books. She also received the Certificate of Award for Outstanding Contribution to Children’s Literature and was nominated for the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award. By the time of her death at age 82, Estes had written 19 children's books and one novel for adults.
The Hundred Dresses is a book about a girl named Wanda Petronski who’s bullied at school because she’s different. Wanda is polish and the other students in class (particularly a girl named Peggy) make fun of her name and harass her outside of school whenever possible.
Dresses seem important to the school girls and it’s always an interest when a girl comes to school wearing a new one. Wanda attempts to fit in (as the girls all admire a student’s new dress) by speaking up and telling the girls she has a hundred dresses at home.
“A hundred of them. All lined up in my closet.”
The other kids don’t believe her and just make fun of her even more. After all, she shows up to school wearing the same faded blue dress day after day. Not long after, Wanda doesn’t show up to school anymore and everyone wonders where she is.
Even though Peggy never thought twice about making fun of Wanda, her friend Maddie felt bad about it. It niggles her every night, especially now that Wanda’s been absent from school for so long. Is she coming back? All Maddie can do now is reflect on the fact that she never had the guts to stand up to Peggy for fear of being the next victim.
The day arrives when the school art contest winners will be announced. Everyone is excited when they walk into the room and see at least a hundred different sketches hanging up. They’re speechless and can’t believe the beauty of the art pieces. Who made all of them? The same day, all the children learn what happened to Wanda through a letter from her father. The question is: Will the class ever get to see or speak to Wanda again?
This is such a lovely book. Our copy is a paperback from 1973 and in really good shape for it’s age. I believe this was originally written in 1944. It does have some illustrations, but not much color. I purchased this at a garage sale for only ten cents. This book is just one example of why I can’t stay away from book sales!
With themes of bullying, racial discrimination, and forgiveness, this is such an important book for children. What I loved most about the book is Wanda’s forgiveness, especially when the students didn’t even ask for it. What I didn’t like, was that it’s unclear whether or not Peggy or the other bullying students truly learned their lesson. I don’t remember reading this when I was in elementary school, but I’m glad to have read it with my kids now.
A moving story with an important message and absolutely beautiful illustrations.
Wanda is looked down upon at school, she only has one dress and her surname is seen as 'funny' by the rest of the children. She lives in a poor part of town with her dad and her brother.
Wanda is bullied and the girls who bully her feel justified in their actions because they believe Wanda is lying and feel that by doing this she is inviting ridicule. The book gives an important message - even though Maddie didn't join in with the bullying, she was still guilty by not standing up for Wanda and telling her friends to stop. I think this is valuable message for children that not only should you be kind to others but you should also speak out when you know something you see happening is wrong.
I can see the appeal of this classic childhood read, and I can’t help but sympathize with Wanda on many levels. To be teased over things beyond your control is especially uncalled for, and unfortunately many of us can relate all too well. I didn’t find her name that unusual or difficult; I grew up in an area of strong Polish heritage, and have seen and heard more unusual last names that are much more difficult to spell and pronounce. And honestly, I think every ethnicity has some unique names that are only unique to those of us who didn’t grow up with them. But that is much of what we bully and tease over, that which is unfamiliar and unknown to us.
I liked the lessons gained from reading this relatively short book. There is the strong message against bullying, in favor of choosing our friends based on their inner qualities and character rather than their outer, often unchangeable, features. But I most appreciated the more subtle lesson of not judging before knowing all the facts. Our assumptions are based on our own perceptions of context, meaning, and setting, but when we open our eyes to a new perspective, we see that what we perceive as another’s falsehood is absolutely true in its own right.
This was one of my favorite books when I was a kid, but I somehow lost touch with it over the years. I was delighted to find a copy, in its sixtieth printing, no less, on the shelf at my local library. I was stunned to see the book was originally published in 1944 - I had assumed it was written during the sixties when I first read it. It does have a rather timeless appeal, and with all the furor these last few years about bullying, its theme is as relevant as ever.
In a school full of children with last names like Allen, Thomas, or Smith, Wanda Petronski stood out. She sat in the back row of the classroom, with the rough boys who did not make good marks on their report cards. She didn't sit there because she was rough and noisy, but because she lived in Boggins Heights, and her feet were usually caked with dry mud that she picked up coming down the country roads. Poor friendless Wanda came to school alone and went home alone. She always wore a faded blue dress that didn't hang right. It was clean, but it looked as though it had never been ironed properly. This fact may or may not have been enough to get her picked on, but Wanda didn't help matters when she opened her mouth and told the other girls that she had "A hundred dresses. All lined up in my closet."
It turns out, she really did have a hundred dresses, but by the time that fact was discovered, Wanda was gone, off to live in the big city where others had names like hers. "No more hollar Polack. No more ask why funny name." her father explained in a note to the teacher, a sentiment that leads the reader to wonder if perhaps Wanda was not the only Petronski family member to be bullied.
Although I didn't enjoy this quite as much as I did when I was younger, it's still a fine read that I hope will always stay in print for young girls to adore, and maybe even benefit from reading.
Published in 1944 and this book is just as relevant today as it was 72 years ago. The timeless story of young Wanda Petronski, and what it was like at school to be a poor girl with a strange name, with one faded blue dress that she wore everyday. Shaming is just as bad as bullying, maybe worse. This story will make your heart ache, because when we were in school we were "Wanda", or we knew a "Wanda". Yes this book should be required reading and it is in some schools. The National Education Association puts this book on it's list of 100 best children's books. Beautifully written, just a remarkable story.
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 her. One needs to look beyond the physical when the physical IS empty; for in the imagination there is a wealth of things.
کتاب مصور «صد دست لباس» نوشتهی «الینور استیس» با تصویرگری «لوییز اسلوبودکین» است. این کتاب برای کودکان نوشته شده. هلنا استیس دختر نویسندهی کتاب در مقدمه آورده است: «سالها پیش از مادرم پرسیدم که چرا این داستان را نوشت. او به من گفت که در دبستان یک همکلاسی داشته که چون هر روز با همان یک دست لباس به مدرسه میآمد، مورد تمسخر و آزار قرار میگرفت؛ علاوه بر این که نام لهستانیاش خاص و غیرعادی بود و تلفظ آن برای خیلیها دشوار... همکلاسی او هر روز همان یک دست لباس را میپوشید و به مدرسه میرفت؛ چون او فقط همان یک دست لباس را داشت.»
من فکر میکنم این کتاب برای کودکان نیست...درسته خیلی خیلی روان و سطحی نوشته شده ولی مضمونی داره که متاسفانه تا زمانی دنیا دنیاست انسان از خودش به دور نخواهد کرد خشونت ، تمسخر و ریش خند کردن، رد اشخاص جدید، بیرحمی، بزدلی و البته در سمت دیگه ویژگیهای والایی مثل زیبایی هنر، داشتن مناعت طبع و بلند نظری و قلب پاک و از دست ندادن امید و آرزو در اوج فقر و بی کسی....
کتاب «صد دست لباس» داستان دختر نوجوانی به نام «واندا پترونسکی» است که با خانواده لهستانیتبار خود در یکی از شهرهای امریکا زندگی میکند. همکلاسیهای واندا در مدرسه او را مسخره میکنند... . نویسنده که در واقع خود یکی از همکلاسیهای واندا بوده سعی کرده است با نوشتن این داستان، اشتباه خود را جبران کند. گناه او «بیتفاوتی» نسبت به آزار واندا بود. این داستان در سال ۱۹۴۵ جایزه «نشان نیوبری» را اخذ کرد و در سال ۲۰۰۷ یکی از صد کتاب منتخب معلمان «انجمن آموزش ملی» امریکا گردید.
The Hundred Dresses is Eleanor Estes' 1945 Newberry Award Winning classic geared toward middle grade readers. The book is still relevant these 70 years later because it touches on important concepts like bullying, peer pressure, and racial discrimination. In a letter to readers at the beginning of the book, Estes' daughter tells us that the book had been based on events in her mother's own life. Wanda Petronski is a Polish immigrant who lives in a one room house in the poor section of town with her father and brother. The rest of the children are WASP whose families have seemed to have lived in the town for years. When Wanda shows up one day in her shoddy yet clean blue dress, the class queen Peggy and sidekick Maggie start teasing her. Oh this girl has one hundred different dresses all lined up in her closet, oh really. Peggy is the instigator while Maggie stands quietly by and allows the taunting to occur. Internally, however, Maggie does not condone this behavior because she wears handmedown clothes and does not want to be the next kid taunted should Peggy stop focusing on Wanda. Later the class at school has a drawing contest. Wanda wins- she has drawn all one hundred dresses and her artwork reveals her inner voice. Immediately the rest of the class feels horrible that they ever teased her in the first place. Yet Wanda's father decided to move to the big city where there were many immigrants so his children would no longer be singled out and ridiculed by their classmates. Peggy and Maggie want to apologize to Wanda, but how, now that she has moved away? Although 70 years old, this book is timeless. Last year it was one of the monthly reads for kids at our public library. I feel like all middle grade (2-5) classes should read this in class and then have a poignant class discussion about peer pressure, teasing, etc. A 4.5 star wonderful read with sparkling illustrations to accompany the poignant text. Highly recommended.
This book won the 1945 Newberry Award. It is of its time and place. Yet, my recent experience reading it with my soon-to-be-six year old made me see its current value. In general, I agree with my GR friend, Julie, when she basically says that the individual parts or this book may be wanting but the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
This is a story that may have its greatest impact for girls age ten and under. It deals with how easy it is to become complicit in prejudice, shaming, and needing to feel part of a group.
When we started this, I sensed less interest than with other recent books. We set it aside and I thought we would come back to it in a year or so. I was gobsmacked when, out of the blue, she asked (weeks later) if we could continue. I am still not sure what was the reason, since school has be “out” for several months.
Hope to delicately explore this when the opportunity presents itself
How did it all start? Maddie wasn’t quite sure, but then she remembers. It started with a girl, Wanda Petronski, who lives on Boggins Heights with her dad and brother. Wanda comes to school every day in the same faded blue dress that doesn’t seem to hang right. She’s quiet and sits in the far corner of the classroom. Nobody seems to pay her much mind, except that her last name is silly and hard to pronounce. She’s practically invisible until that one day when Wanda wanted so desperately to be a part of the group. So hungry for companionship and inclusion. That one day when the other girls were talking about dresses and Wanda said, “I got a hundred dresses at home.” Who knew that that one single sentence would have such an effect…not just on Wanda, but on so many more.
Oftentimes, a book or story acts as a balm—more for the author than the reader. It is a last-ditch effort of making things right…of righting a wrong. R.J. Palacio accomplished this through her wonderful and poignant book "The Wonder", a novel about a boy with Treacher Collins Syndrome (TCS) where bones and facial tissues develop abnormally. She says that the inspiration for her book came after a chance encounter with a little girl in an ice cream store. In “A Letter to Readers”, Estes’s daughter, Helena, says that her mother’s inspiration came from a classmate who was much like Wanda. An immigrant shunned by her peers and longing to fit in and be liked. Her mother, like Maddie, realized too late that complacency is just as bad as participation and that popularity should never be achieved at the expense of another.
"The Hundred Dresses" won a Newberry Honor in 1945 and has never been out of print since. There is a very good reason for this. Although it is a mere 80 pages, Eleanor Estes makes every sentence reverberate within our very heart and soul and Louis Slobodkin’s beautiful illustrations give this heartfelt story a vibrant beauty and grace. This is a story that should be shared and discussed with readers of all ages. It reminds us of the power of words and the heart’s amazing capacity to find and offer forgiveness. Children find it difficult to remove the target from someone else’s back for they know all too well that there is a very good chance that the target will find a new home upon their own. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to stand up for what is right. Only later in life do we realize that sometimes the only thing worse than living with shame, is living with regret. In this age of bullying and intolerance, the lessons learned from "The Hundred Dresses" are still as relevant and important today as they were in 1944. Gratefully, we have Wanda and Maddie who remind us that it is never too late to say, “I’m sorry” and more importantly, “I forgive you."
Wow, this is a powerful book that really impacted my life. Read it in high-school and will have to reread because I was left with many questions. It is about a poor child that wears the same thing to school everyday. I don't remember if she took a lunch to school or if she was clean. I am now 50 so my memories may not be correct but I remember smelling a light stench of unclean bodies while reading this book (Yes, I completely lose myself in my books. I feel their pain, feel their anger, fear, and joy, and even smell their smells). Either way, she is bullied by the other students. She tell others that she has many dresses in her closet but yet wears the same dirty one every day. Even though her other classmates constantly ask her about her wardrobe as a way of mocking her, she continues to discuss her massive dresses and always maintains a positive outlook on life, her home life, and her schooling. At the end of the book, she is pulled from the school (possible due to homelife), and one of her classmates goes to her house to find out what happened and takes a peek into her closet and finds 500 hand drawn pictures of beautiful dress wallpapering the closet.
Got to reread this book as an adult in order to really comprehend what is occurring in this book.
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 still gnaws away at my heart. Maybe it's because my daughter came home and told me about something similar that's happening in her class and she doesn't know what to do about it. Bianca and I both read it and then we discussed what the best way to handle a similar situation. I want Bianca to learn to handle it the right way because I don't want something like this to gnaw at her heart when she's 35.
gradually, memories started to come alive in my mind. I saw myself as a first-grader, brutally-then -in my mind, judging the class' misfits who were not doing their homework, or were looking unclean, or even peeing on themselves. yes, it was that sad.
Maddie thought it was ok for other girls to make fun of Wanda because she is telling lies. I think Maddie was very fortunate enough to realize later that we sometimes tell lies because we don't have much to say, and what we really have, is not very pleasant to be heard.
I loved the part when Maddie was questioning what is right or wrong, and how her constant inner monologue eventually awakened her conscience. The author brilliantly showed us how the child values his peer's acts and opinions more than anything else.
That is a very sweet story that waited long on my to-read list, and I regret keeping it all that long. I'm waiting to recommend it to my students.
Lonely and quiet Wanda Petronski was being bullied at school. She lived in a shabby area, wore a faded blue dress, and often tracked mud into the classroom from the country roads on her walk to school. Wanda claimed she had 100 dresses in her closet when questioned and teased by the girls. One day Wanda did not show up at school, and Peggy and Maddie felt remorseful about their behavior. Maddie realized that she had the power to change her behavior and to appreciate the value of those who are different and what they say may be real. A valuable lesson for all children.
I did not recall at first that I had read this previously, but I am not surprised as I realized that the author wrote The Moffats, which I enjoyed a couple of the series and Ginger Pye as a child.
This little chapter book was originally published in 1944. To be honest, I found both the writing style and the illustrations uninspired. However, for girls in the lower grades, this book should be required reading. The overall message is that it is important to be kind to other girls, even if they are "different" from you and are not your best friends or part of your "group."
I loved Eleanor Estes as child, but had never read this one. I read it aloud to my 5-year-old and she enjoyed it, but I think the undertones of regret and reconciliation will be more fully understood in a couple of years. We'll look forward to reading this one together again, and getting more out of it with every reading.
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.
This was a sweet story from the times when kids were not mean in a way they are today or at least what I gather from books. It seems they were innocent then. However, the writing was not inviting and a little dull. I wonder if her other books are similar to this one. No matter what, I am very comfortable with Newbery award books.
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.
I do not understand why this book is still on all the must-read lists for elementary kids.
It started out quite well, until the whole construct of separate drawing competitions in a co-ed elementary classrom (dresses for girls, motorboats for boys). That's... dated. Not a shock, given the publication date of 1944, and at first I thought I'd just skip that sentence. Unfortunately, it turns out the whole story hinges on this plot point. So, that's not great for a 21st century family. I have enough trouble working against society's misogyny-at-large, I don't need an anti-bullying book to encourage those ideas.
But it gets much worse. The story culminates with an off-page epistolary olive branch (though the text states outright that no *apology* is included in said letter -- they just write as if they were always pals). The note is never confirmed to be delivered, the non-apology never directly accepted but immediately assumed accepted by the lead bully and her co-bully BFF (our protag). And, finally, the victim assures her old teacher and classroom (of bullies) how great they all are.
The co-bully protag tells herself she'll change her behavior, but we never actually see her change. Rather the opposite, actually -- when the lead bully handwaves and makes excuses for how they treated the victim, the co-bully quietly goes along with that narrative rather than say even "I don't know... I'm not so sure."
So. What is the main idea children will take away from this story? That regrets and a non-apology are plenty good enough after hurting someone repeatedly. That intentions vastly outweigh impact.
They aren't and they don't, though. Co-bully feels sad... so what? Standing up to bullies is hard, I get it, but making a resolution isn't the same as keeping one. The idea they are equivalent is the worst kind of tripe.
It's wonderful that the victim chose (once removed from the situation by a responsible adult) to turn the other cheek and move forward with her life off-page. Very laudable. This book is not about the victim, though, it's about the co-bully. We spend eighty pages seeing things from the co-bully's heart, and in the end are left with a story in which the victim makes an effort to ease the co-bully's guilt, while the co-bully does not demonstrate change or growth.
That last part is what children really need to see.
One star for Estes' writing style. Another for the artwork -- the illustrations were great, beautifully vague like a memory or a dream. Best part of the book, by far.
But, really, let's let this book go gently into that good night...
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 getting frustrated because there are kids at our church that don't own even one pretty dress to wear, and they are noticeably uncomfortable and don't come into their classes because of it. I hope that as our Relief Society reads this book, more eyes can be opened to the needs of those right in our midst. The burden of poverty and that comes from prolonged unemployment in this economy and its accompanying cutting of social ties and respect is one that could really be helped by more understanding and compassion, a lesson we are learning from experience and one I hope never to forget once our personal four-year recession ends. Reminds me of this quote from Pres. Hinckley:
“A man out of work is of special moment to the Church because, deprived of his inheritance, he is on trial as Job was on trial—for his integrity. As days lengthen into weeks and months and even years of adversity, the hurt grows deeper, and he is sorely tempted to “curse God and die.” Continued economic dependence breaks him, it humiliates him if he is strong, spoils him if he is weak. Sensitive or calloused, despondent or indifferent, rebellious or resigned—either way, he is threatened with spiritual ruin, for the dole is an evil and idleness a curse. He soon becomes the seedbed of discontent, wrong thinking, alien beliefs. The Church cannot hope to save a man on Sunday if during the week it is a complacent witness to the crucifixion of his soul” (Helping Others to Help Themselves [pamphlet, 1945], 4).
I loved this book when I was a child. I just read it yesterday to my girls (9 and 6), and they enjoyed it too.
I do wonder if the reasons grown-ups love it is different from how it falls on young ears. I loved it when I was young because I loved the idea of having so many beautiful clothes in an imaginative way. Until I reread it yesterday, I didn't even remember that it was supposed to be "about" bullying/being exclusionary. It takes a long time within the story for the author/Maddie to explain that what the girls are doing is bullying. In fact the first chapter talks about the girls "having fun with Wanda" in a way that is meant to lead the reader into taking it in a very face-value way. What could be wrong with having fun with a classmate?
As an adult, I understand that the author is trying to take the reader along with Maddie's emotional development, but I don't think it really lands for a young reader. What I took from it as a girl was "It's too bad Wanda moved away before the class got to know her." I don't think it made sense to me at the time that an adult (Wanda's father) would relocate his family based on the kind of behavior displayed by Maddie and Peggy, and I certainly didn't understand that the girls' behavior was a relatively minor outbreak of the whole community's xenophobia and prejudice, as he touches on in his letter.
It's still good to have this kind of thoughtful book running in the background of a child's head, even if she/he doesn't grasp the full picture. I think "Be nice to people because everyone has a rich inner life of her/his own" is pretty hard to miss even if the larger societal issues are less clear.
Or maybe it was just me who didn't get it because I'm actually a Peggy. That's a thought.