- Age Range: 6 - 9 years
- Grade Level: 1 - 4
- Lexile Measure: 870L (What's this?)
- Paperback: 96 pages
- Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1-Simul edition (September 1, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0152052607
- ISBN-13: 978-0152052607
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.4 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (460 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,666 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Hundred Dresses Paperback – September 1, 2004
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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 the end of it. One day, after Wanda has been absent from school for a few days, the teacher receives a note from Wanda's father, a Polish immigrant: "Dear teacher: My Wanda will not come to your school any more. Jake also. Now we move away to big city. No more holler Polack. No more ask why funny name. Plenty of funny names in the big city. Yours truly, Jan Petronski."
Maddie, a girl who had stood by while Wanda was taunted about her dresses, feels sick inside: "True, she had not enjoyed listening to Peggy ask Wanda how many dresses she had in her closet, but she had said nothing.... She was a coward.... She had helped to make someone so unhappy that she had had to move away from town." Repentant, Maddie and her friend Peggy head up to Boggins Heights to see if the Petronskis are still there. When they discover the house is empty, Maddie despairs: "Nothing would ever seem good to her again, because just when she was about to enjoy something--like going for a hike with Peggy to look for bayberries or sliding down Barley Hill--she'd bump right smack into the thought that she had made Wanda Petronski move away." Ouch. This gentle Newbery Honor Book convincingly captures the deeply felt moral dilemmas of childhood, equally poignant for the teased or the tormentor. Louis Slobodkin, illustrator of the 1944 Caldecott Medalist Many Moons, brings his wispy, evocative, color-washed sketches to Eleanor Estes's time-proven classic about kindness, compassion, and standing up for what's right. (Ages 6 and older) --Karin Snelson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Sensitive, intuitive, restrained . . . will take its place with the books that endure."--Saturday Review
"Written with rare intuition and pictured with warm sympathy and charm."--The Horn Book
"No young person . . . will ever forget it."--Book Week
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Top Customer Reviews
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
It's a powerful read.
Realistic Fiction: Beginning-Chapter Book, Grades 3-8
The Creative Teacher: Activities for Language Arts (Grades 4 through 8 and Up)
Beautifully illustrated, award-winning story of school bullying and the resilience of the artistically rich, economically poor victim and her family, who
move away after experiencing non-acceptance from small-town xenophobic/class discriminating neighbors.
Lessons are learned, life-long regrets are formed.
See also: Crow Boy by Taro Yashima, Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren for unique children who are sometimes ostracized by peers.
The story is required reading for almost every school child in the country, and for very good reason. It is an exercise in conciense that is barely equalled anywhere. Without being preachy, it speaks to the hearts of kids who are not necessarily cruel, but are capable of doing cruel things.
I especially like that the ending is not a neat and tidy happy resolution. There are consequences to our decisions, and not everything can necessarily be rectified - even if we are sorry in the aftermath. The Hundred Dresses might be the first mature story a child reads that has a realistic, and thought provoking ending.