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The Hundred Dresses

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  36,064 ratings  ·  2,811 reviews
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 s
Paperback, 80 pages
Published September 1st 2004 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1944)
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Andrea I wish I had known about this book when I was in grade school. I just found out about it through Goodreads and just finished it but I guess that findi…moreI wish I had known about this book when I was in grade school. I just found out about it through Goodreads and just finished it but I guess that finding out about it at age 51 is better than not knowing about it at all. (less)

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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  36,064 ratings  ·  2,811 reviews

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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
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 joi
Apr 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
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 th ...more
Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 w
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 Assoc ...more
Oct 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

This is a story that may have its greatest impact for girls age ten and under. It deals with how easy it is to becom
Apr 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids-books
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
Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan
Great way to introduce children to the concept of empathy, and it’s an interesting story too. I first read it in elementary school and it’s really stuck with me.
Apr 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very cute little book
Apr 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
This short story written in the early 1940's, has a very timeless message. The illustrations added dimension to the written word. ...more
Jun 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Clare Cannon
Aug 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 04-8yrs, 08-12yrs
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.
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.
Aug 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
gradually, memories started to come alive from 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 ver
The Dusty Jacket
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: newbery-winners
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 ...more
Oct 12, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Written in 1944 and winner of the Newbery, this brief, bittersweet tale concerns a poor Polish girl, Wanda, who is made fun of by other children. Already an outcast because of her halting language and unusual name, she wears the same blue dress every day. Protesting to other girls at being mocked for this, she makes the diffident, questionable claim of having "a hundred dresses, all kinds" at home. The other children mock this all the more, but the conscience of at least one girl is pricked when ...more
Jun 02, 2012 rated it liked it
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." ...more
May 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Gray Cox
This book still brings tears to my eyes, I don't care how old you are, everyone needs to read this! The message is so important and powerful. ...more
Apr 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children, art
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
Apr 06, 2020 rated it liked it
In my younger days, I didn’t have decent clothes and shoes. Our parents would only buy us new ones every Christmas because we could no longer wear the ones we had bought the other year. We always wore them on different special occasions like when we had to visit our mom’s father in a far province or when we wanted to visit our other relatives in the other cities. But I started to be kind of ashamed of my dress when I reached the puberty stage, when I began to have a circle of friends. It was the ...more
Nov 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
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
Aug 16, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone Looking for Children's Stories About Bullying, Immigrants, Prejudice & Regret
Originally published in 1944 and chosen as a Newbery Honor Book in 1945, this slim children's novel - only eighty pages - follows the story of Maddie, a young Connecticut schoolgirl who realizes, too late, that she has been unkind to one of her fellow pupils. Led by Peggy, Maddie's best friend and the most popular girl in school, the students ridicule new girl Wanda Petronski, whose 'odd' name, foreign accent, and poverty make her a target. Most of all, though, the girls ridicule for her claim - ...more
Nov 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book makes me a little emotional about my childhood because it's a book that I loved during childhood. It's both a sad and beautiful book.

The story is about a little girl who doesn't really have any friends and who wears the same blue dress to school every day. One day she boasts that she has 100 dresses at home which turns into something that all the kids josh with her about daily. She ends up leaving school because of being ridiculed. This ends up causing a change of heart in some of her
Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer
I read this while doing a service project about collecting dresses. It is a fun accompaniment for that purpose because the story dovetails nicely with how we should treat others. The illustrations are incredible with a timeless feel that hearken back to a time where compassion and understanding were more prevalent in our society.

Loved the concept and how refreshing Maddie was, that even after she pondered what she had done and practiced to act differently in the future. So often in modern stori
Jul 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, kid-lit
Alice and I read this over a few evenings. I really like the character Maddie and how she explored here feelings in regards to Wanda Petronski getting bullied. I do wish there'd been a little bit more information about Wanda. This was still a good book to read together. A little dated, but the story is still relevant.
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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

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