The Hundred Dresses

The Hundred Dresses

4.3 66
by Eleanor Estes, Louis Slobodkin

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Wanda wears the same faded blue dress to school every day -- yet she says she has one hundred beautiful dresses at home, "all lined up." The other girls don't believe it, and when Peggy starts a daily game of teasing Wanda about the hundred dresses, everyone joins in. Maddie, Peggy's best friend, goes along with the game, but she secretly wonders whether she can find


Wanda wears the same faded blue dress to school every day -- yet she says she has one hundred beautiful dresses at home, "all lined up." The other girls don't believe it, and when Peggy starts a daily game of teasing Wanda about the hundred dresses, everyone joins in. Maddie, Peggy's best friend, goes along with the game, but she secretly wonders whether she can find the courage to speak up in Wanda's defense. It's not until Wanda fails to come to school one day that her classmates learn the truth about the hundred dresses -- and Maddie and Peggy learn the meaning of kindness and generosity of spirit. Eleanor Estes's heartfelt story, a Newbery Honor Book and a beloved classic for more than sixty years, offers readers of all ages a timeless message of compassion and understanding.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Classic titles return in time for the gift-giving season. For a new generation of readers, Eleanor Estes's long-treasured title, The Hundred Dresses (1944), illus. by Louis Slobodkin, appears in its 60th anniversary finery with newly "restored color" in the artwork. Wanda faces mockery at school, both because of her "funny" last name (Petron-ski) and her claims that she has 100 dresses at home even though she wears the same one to school each day. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
A classic children's small novel, this book has been reissued and consequently, more children will know the story of Wanda Petronski and her claim of having a hundred dresses "all lined up in my closet." Wanda is the girl who lives with her father and brother in the part of town described as no place to live. She wears the same dress to school every day and has a last name unlike the other children in the class. The story of Wanda and her hundred dresses is really Maddie's story as she relates how she and friend Peggy wait for Wanda on the way to school, "to have fun with her." This eerie phrase is written three times before the teasing game is described in chapter two. The structure of the story begins with Wanda's absence from school, flashes to the past to recount how Wanda was treated by the school children, and then returns to the present as Maddie and Peggy work to make amends. Maddie's inner thoughts make up much of the book as she wrestles with her guilt and is conflicted by her fondness for friend Peggy. Maddie realizes how easy it would be to find herself as the next object of derision. She helps the reader consider the consequences of not standing up against wrongs as it becomes apparent to all that Wanda is a unique and generous person. Written in 1944, Estes may have given the children of that time a view of prejudice, but Maddie's growth in compassion is a major lesson of the book. It is a Newbery Honor book worthy of a reissue. The language of the book is terse yet engaging, the soft illustrations provide suggested images and mood, and the theme is as meaningful today as it was 60 years ago. A letter to readers by the author's daughter is a perfect introduction to thereissue. 2004 (orig. 1944), Harcourt. Ages 6 to 10.
—Jacki Vawter, Ph.D.
From the Publisher
"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

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Voyager Books Series
Product dimensions:
6.48(w) x 8.38(h) x 0.26(d)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"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

Meet the Author

Eleanor Estes (1906-1988) grew up in West Haven, Connecticut, which she renamed Cranbury for her classic stories about the Moffat and Pye families. A children’s librarian for many years, she launched her writing career with the publication of The Moffats in 1941. Two of her outstanding books about the Moffats—Rufus M. and The Middle Moffat—were awarded Newbery Honors, as was her short novel The Hundred Dresses. She won the Newbery Medal for Ginger Pye.

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The Hundred Dresses 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 66 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My daughter of 9 and 1/2 years picked this book up and read it twice within 2 weeks. She loves to read, but really liked this particular story. Great for fun reading, with the additional bonus of a lesson--Not just for Literature Reading!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book when I was in about 3rd grade and it really touched me, so much that I still remember it to this day. I remember it upsetting me deeply as a child that Wanda was bullied and it made me think twice about bullying my friends (i was a huge bully in elementary school!). I carried the lesson with me for many years, not to judge people or be mean because you don't know their circumstances or what they might be going through. It is a great book for young girls to read, who can be so cruel to each other. I read this book in the classroom as a group activity and we had a discussion about it for several days afterwards.
GracieBunny More than 1 year ago
The book, The Hundred Dresses, is a book that can communicate with girls who think they don't fit in at school. It teaches a valuable lesson to those who read it and find themselves in a situation where they might be inclined to judge someone who is different that themselves. The characters are well developed, and the story is a compelling short read for the young reader.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I brought this book because I wanted my daughter to understand that not everyone is the same. However, everyone deserves to be treated with respect. She is having some difficulty with making friends because she is very opinionated and can be "cocky" at times. I thought this book provides the right type of lesson in compassion for others. In addition, expresses how each side of the issue can and should be addressed by the characters. I really enjoyed reading this book with my daughter.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Makes you examine yourself and makes you wonder how you and your kids would act in that situation. Do you act, react or do nothing at all? Do we have integrity and courage or not?
Rabone More than 1 year ago
The story is timeless, though truly it resonates in today's troubled and sensitive times.

People are different, and circumstances are different...but people, especially children, are many times cruel in their communications and relationships.

This story tells of the emotional thinking activities of a young girl in relation to her peers and to a clearly underpriveledged child in her classroom. The girl wonders why one girl wears the same clothes every day, tries to fit in but does not, takes on the almost daily riducule of other girls...and then tells what appears to be a monsterous lie.

When she stops attending class, she wonders what happened, realizes she was part of the crown of people who did not accept her, and she begins to question her actions and emotions, along with questioning her friend's behavior and actions.

The author is honest with her characters (there is no tremendous "rabbit of the hat" change in behavior) and life...the books ends with a satisfying acceptance of things, but also a satisfying acceptance of changed beliefs and some understanding.

What a great read, the book has been read a number of times in our household, and out loud too.
ShreeG More than 1 year ago
I am a 1st grade teacher. I skip two sentences that refer to Wanda as dumb. But I do read this story to my students. We do a lesson about our different heritage, and talk about the fact that we come from different continents and different countries but are one class, one team because we follow the golden rule and respect each other. We also design 100 dresses, using five different mediums. Excellent reading from my stand point because it is at about 6-7 that children's eyes start opening up to differences, and we, as the adults responsible for the future (children) must let them know that it is okay to be different. It is not okay to be mean or make assumptions about people because of the way they dress, look, sound or because of the name they have. Luckily, this is not too difficult fro me because my kids have a tough time learning my first name!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I purchased this for my daughter as a bookclub read. It was a favorite of mine in middle school literature and I was glad to see schools still use it. The story is still as moving. The lessons subtly taught. The characters still as vibrantly real. The message in this story has never been more appropriate or applied more than on today's young children. In the age of haves and have nots and status symbols, this story continues to shine.
LisaA15 More than 1 year ago
This is a lovely book. I truly appreciated the message. It is especially good in these economic times for children to learn the lessons taught in this book. I liked that the narrator is torn about her feelings, as most of us would be in the situation presented in this story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book in fifth grade and adored it. Perhaps it was because my mother made all my clothes, and I was sometimes perceived by classmates as not being quite 'with it.' And while I'm not sure how well it would hold up in today's fast-paced world, I can attest to having read it at least five times in that fifth grade year. I'm glad to see it's still being published.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The title of this book is 'The hundred dresses' it is by Eleanor Estes. I give it four stars. I give this four stars because it is good but not great. This story lacks some things such as a good plot. It is not very interesting. This book gets boring after you get to the middle. It is about a girl named wanda who claims she has 100 dresses in her closet. All of the girls at school doubt and tease her. When Wanda moves to another town everybody is sad. They feel disappointed that they made fun of her. Before wana p. left there was a dress drawing contest for the girls. Wanda ended up winning and now the girls knew that when she said she had 100 dresses she was not lying. She did have one hundred drawings of dresses. Other titles i reccomend are cathrine called birdy, charlie bone, the blueford series, and so you want to be a wizard. I am a 7th grader in middle school and i love to read. i suggest you read this book if you have extra time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What an outstanding story line. Every elementary age child should have the story read to them. What a great story line about how to treat others and self reflection. This is a great story, great learning tool and it's an easy, quick read!! A Must!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
i remember reading this book in elementary and i loved it. it was a beautiful story. i had compeletly forgotten about it until i just saw it now on this website but i remember how muched i loved it. the ending is not what you expect. i assure you that you would love this book
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book as a child and still I remember the impact it had on my life. I was a immigrant child. It taught me to stand up for myself and others. A lesson I live with everyday. A must for all children and in particular girls.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I remember this book in 2nd-grade, when my teacher would read it to me and I'll read it again and again...b/c of this I still treasure this book with care...
Guest More than 1 year ago
After 11 years of not seeing this book, a professor gave me this. I was overjoyed. This book was read to my class and I as a child in elementary school and I read it again after receiving it. It still taught me the same lesson about children teasing each other and the differences in kids. A sweet story. Not exciting but definitely a quick read that everyone should read - especially a teacher.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was read to me by my fourth grade teacher almost eleven years ago. I am purchasing this book for my future children. This book teaches so much and it definitly sticks with you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Eleanor Estes has definitely created a story that almost anyone can relate to. The book touches on a very sensitive social issue and deftly deals with the feelings & sentiments from both sides. This is a story that will stay with your young one as they mature and venture out into the world.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read this book over and over with my mom when i was small . And i now the book by heart. I love this book . I think htis book shows that you can't jugde a book or person in this case by how the person look or acts. Wanda Petronski is a quiet little girl just how I wasn't and know I'm more open to people that have a new entrance in my life. I feel this book is a excellent book for showing how much one can learn form another can learn form each other.Also I think this book is a excellent book to read to your chilren and teach them not everyone has to be like you,dress the same as you do or even live in a good neibghood.
Anonymous 11 months ago
It is good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book i read it in school! Next time i get a giftcard to Barnes and noble im getting this book. ~Forever76247~
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I ordered several copies of The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes because I read it a couple of  years ago and loved it.  It is a wonderful story, which also teaches ildren story which also teaches children , and ALL of us  how we can be unkind to each other  -  or -- how we can be KIND to each other.  It should be read in our homes   be read in our homes and required reading in the elementary schools in America  - and throughout the world.  I bought several copies to  give to children as gifts !.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a really good book & I think it teaches a lesson- DON'T BULLY PEOPLE! When you bully someone it hurts there fealings & they stay in a bad mood all day because of you. Next time if you go to bully someone you should think twice about your actions & how they can affect someone. If your the one getting bullyed you should tell a grown up. Don't let a bully ruin your day. Allways tell someone. If you see someone getting bullyed you should also tell someone.-Lisa
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Number three your wrong.This story is about a girl named wanda not peeny.