Ensiform's Reviews > The Hundred Dresses

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
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bookshelves: 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 Wanda is taken out of the school by her father. When her "hundred dresses" are revealed to be beautiful drawings of dresses, many of the children are lost in admiration and want to send a letter to Wanda expressing remorse, but she has moved away. It's simply and elegantly told, without preaching (except some pointed comments from the teacher), but with a lesson that hits home clearly. A well-crafted story of intolerance and repentance, sadly still worth reading to students in 2020 and beyond.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
September 24, 2015 – Finished Reading
July 7, 2019 – Shelved
July 7, 2019 – Shelved as: fiction

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