Hilary's Reviews > The Hundred Dresses

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
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it was amazing
bookshelves: favourite-books, great-illustrations, losing-a-loved-one, female-author-or-illustrator
Read 3 times. Last read April 25, 2019.

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.
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Reading Progress

May 25, 2016 – Shelved
May 25, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
June 7, 2016 – Started Reading
June 11, 2016 – Finished Reading
July 30, 2017 – Shelved as: favourite-books
July 30, 2017 – Shelved as: great-illustrations
May 31, 2018 – Shelved as: losing-a-loved-one
May 31, 2018 – Shelved as: female-author-or-illustrator
January 4, 2019 – Started Reading
January 4, 2019 – Finished Reading
April 25, 2019 – Started Reading
April 25, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-24 of 24 (24 new)

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message 1: by Sylvester (new)

Sylvester Thanks for the recommendation!


message 2: by Jola (new)

Jola It's been a pleasure to read your review, Hilary. Glad to see a book with a Polish girl as one of the main characters in the story. :)
The lesson this novel teaches seems to be very important nowadays also. Unfortunately bullying is still a problem at schools and you really can be laughed at if you don't have clothes or trainers which are regarded as 'pro' by the group.


Julie Hilary,
I agree. It's an important book, albeit soul-crushingly sad.


Hilary Yes, very sad. Herd mentality is awful and sadly will always be there.


Hilary Have you read The Silver Sword ? Another great book with lead characters that are Polish !


message 6: by Jola (new)

Jola Hilary wrote: "Have you read The Silver Sword ? Another great book with lead characters that are Polish !"

Hilary wrote: "Have you read The Silver Sword ? Another great book with lead characters that are Polish !"

Unfortunately no, I haven't. Could you please tell me the name of the author? As it seems, the title is quite popular. :)


Hilary It's by Ian Serraillier. I read this as a child and adult and is one of my all time favourites, although some friends with similar tastes didn't enjoy it so much. Worth a try though and based on a true story.


Hilary Another all time favourite involving a Polish family is The Endless Steppe by Esther Hautzig, if you haven't read this it's an amazing story and again based on a true story.


message 9: by Jola (new)

Jola Hilary wrote: "Another all time favourite involving a Polish family is The Endless Steppe by Esther Hautzig, if you haven't read this it's an amazing story and again based on a true story."

Fantastic recommendations, Hilary! Thanks so much. I've just added both. I am shocked Esther Hautzig's book hasn't been translated into Polish yet. Fortunately 'The Silver Sword' was published here in 2014.

Another top quality cover, by the way:
The Endless Steppe.


Hilary That is so suprising The Endless Steppe is not available in Polish! And the Silver Sword only recently translated!

The cover is lovely, and well suited to the book.


message 11: by Jola (new)

Jola Hilary wrote: "That is so suprising The Endless Steppe is not available in Polish! And the Silver Sword only recently translated!

The cover is lovely, and well suited to the book."


I am shocked also. Looking forward to reading both of them. Thank you, Hilary.


message 12: by Diane (new)

Diane Wallace Very nice review, Hilary ;)


Hilary Thank you Diane :-)


message 14: by Ivan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ivan I love this book
and the illustrations


Hilary It's a wonderful book, beautiful illustrations and such an important message to speak out against unkindness. Glad you enjoyed this too Ivan.


message 16: by Lisa (last edited Jan 06, 2019 03:31PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Great review, Hilary! Many books made a huge impression on me when I read them as a child. This is definitely one of them.


Hilary Thanks Lisa! another book I would not have come across if it wasn't for goodreads and my US/Canadian friends. I'm surprised this isn't well known here, as it's such a wonderful story. I love the way it shows that you have a duty to speak out about what is wrong. Such a good book to have in a school. I love the story and the illustrations.


message 18: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Hilary, I 100% agree and I’m glad you’ve found the book.


Linden This book broke my heart a little when I first read it as a child.


Hilary I agree Linden, it is so sad how Wanda is treated.


Abigail I found this one a poignant story, but somehow, couldn't quite connect with it, emotionally speaking, as much as I would have liked. That said, it is a classic for a reason, and I appreciated that it didn't offer any facile solutions. Sometimes we don't behave as we ought, and aren't given an opportunity to make it right. This is a hard lesson, and one Estes captures.

Regarding stories with a Polish setting, I would also highly recommend The Trumpeter of Krakow, which is historical fiction, and won the Newbery Medal.


Hilary That's interesting, what about the illustrations? I would love this for the illustrations alone. Thanks for the recommendation, I will look for that.


Abigail Hilary wrote: "That's interesting, what about the illustrations? I would love this for the illustrations alone. Thanks for the recommendation, I will look for that."

It's been some time since I read it, and I honestly don't have a strong memory of the artwork. I'll have to revisit it, and get back to you.


Hilary I'll look forward to your thoughts Abigail!


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