The Hundred Dresses

Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Hundred Dresses
In winning a medal she is no longer there to receive, a tight-lipped little Polish girl teaches her classmates a lesson. Includes a note from the author's daughter, Helena Estes.

Publisher: Orlando, Fla. : Harcourt, 2004
ISBN: 0152051708
Branch Call Number: J FIC E
Characteristics: 80 p. : col. ill. ; 21 cm.
Additional Contributors: Slobodkin, Louis 1903-1975,Illustrator
Alternate Title: 100 dresses


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Nov 18, 2014
  • mmcbeth29 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This book was first published in 1944. It is about a Polish girl who tries to become part of the "in" girl crowd by boasting that she has 100 dresses at home. The girls poke fun of her daily by asking how many dresses, shoes, hats, etc. she has each day. One day, the girl, Wanda, does not show up for school. A few days later, the schoolroom walls are covered in 100 pictures of dress, Wanda's 100 dresses. The children exclaim over their beauty. But then the children find out that Wanda's family has left town because they are tired of being made fun of for being Polish. Maddie, one of the little girls feels bad about how she treated Wanda and wishes she could make it up to her. She writes a letter to Wanda. In the end, Wanda writes back saying two of the girls could keep one of her drawings.

First, this book would now be considered historical fiction because of the time period (1940s) that it depicts. The language and the behavior of the children is more typical of that time period. The story does a good job of showing how hurtful prejudice can be. However, the ending is incomplete. The little girl, Maddie, who feels bad about her behavior does not show that she has changed other than to say how happy she is that Wanda gave her one of the drawings of a dress.

Also, this book is advertized for grades 1 and up. This is too young an age to fully understand this book. I would recommend it for grades 3-5 especially since it is written on the fourth grade level.

May 23, 2014

The small but troubling story unfolds at a measured pace, almost hypnotically, as it wraps its intense emotions around a blanket of comforting repetition and routines. There's ample fuel for family discussion after reading aloud, such as the contrast between the picked-on but generous Wanda and her embittered but defiant father. An introduction by the author's daughter describes the real-life origin of the story.

Apr 04, 2014
  • Heather Glenna Fortuny rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A very nice story. It helps kids to think of actions, inactions and consequences of both on themselves and others. Upon the insistence of my 4yr old and 6yr old, this somewhat long story was read in one sitting. There seemed to be a bit of suspense and intense feelings. My daughter empathized with the girl that was targeted in the story and says "I was glad when she xxxxxxx so the others could not pick on her.

Oct 30, 2013
  • Sidewinder88 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

My teacher read this book to me in elementary school, all these years later I still remember what a beautiful story it is and the lesson it teaches.

Oct 30, 2013
  • ggbookreader rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

"Kindness and generosity of spirit" - a quote from the The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes is what this story is all about. In this storyline we find a well developed theme and engaging characters, and the main lesson is delivered in a way that is easy to grasp. Eleanor Estes has a beautiful way of teaching acceptance of "new and different" people as well as how teasing can damage a person, and it may not be the person you think it is. This is worth while reading for youth as well as adults. :) :)

Jul 13, 2012
  • sldoug rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A very sad, touching book. I look forward to hearing what my 9 year old thinks of it.

Apr 19, 2012
  • MissECE rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This story is beautiful!! My nine year old daughter and I read it together and loved it. It's a truly enlightening story about how it feels when you realize you have treated someone unkind.


Add Age Suitability

Nov 18, 2014
  • mmcbeth29 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

mmcbeth29 thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over

Apr 04, 2014

black_bat_287 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Jun 21, 2012
  • indigo_cheetah_80 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

indigo_cheetah_80 thinks this title is suitable for 7 years and over

Jun 18, 2012
  • red_ladybug_224 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

red_ladybug_224 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 5 and 8


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The Hundred Dresses
Estes, Eleanor, 1906-1988
The Hundred Dresses

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