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The Hundred Dresses (Voyager Books) Paperback – April 17, 1974
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"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
About the Author
ELEANOR ESTES (1906-1988), a children's librarian for many years, launched her writing career with the publication of The Moffats in 1941.
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In the story, Wanda Petronski is just such a girl. Every day she wears the same faded blue dress to school. One day the other girls are admiring another girl’s new dress and discussing dresses they have or would like to have when Wanda comes up and says quietly to Peggy, the most popular girl in the class that she has a hundred dresses at home. Peggy announces this to the other girls, and from then on she and her best friend Maddie make a practice of asking Wanda about her hundred dresses as often as they get a chance.
Maddie is not completely comfortable with this as she too is poor and must wear hand-me-down clothes to school. It occurs to her that the other girls could as easily go from teasing Wanda to teasing her instead. But she never says anything.
One day Wanda does not show up at school. Her father sends a letter to the school that his children will not be back. They are moving to the big city where there are plenty of people with funny names.
But in the meantime, Wanda has left a hundred dresses at school – a hundred dresses that she has drawn for the class’s drawing contest.
Too late it occurs to Maddie and Peggy to try to apologize for teasing Wanda. When they go to her house to see her, they find the family has already gone.
This is an excellent teaching tool to use when discussing how we should treat those that may be different from us.
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.