Monday, February 20, 2012

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

Many years ago I saw a special hard cover copy of this classic with its Newbery Honor book sticker and a letter to readers by Helena Estes. I have always loved this book and so it joined my shelves at home.

My memory of this book was of a story about poverty but it is also an important book about bullying and discrimination all packed into a simple heart-warming story set in 1940s America complete with exquisite water colour illustrations by Louis Slobodkin.

Wanda is the outsider, the foreigner with a 'different' surname. She wears the same faded blue dress every day and this makes her the target for the 'cool' girls. When they ask about her dress Wanda declares she has one hundred dresses at home. How can this be true? Quite suddenly Wanda leaves the school but Maddie feels great guilt. She realises the teasing was cruel and now she may never have the chance to say sorry.

If you enjoy The Hundred Dresses you should also read Secret Friends by Elizabeth Laird, The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCarmillo and perhaps the picture book Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes.

Here is a set of lessons for this book and some deep questions which are excellent.


Patrice said...

100 Dresses was set in West Haven, Ct and it is based on a true event in Eleanor Estes life. We are actually having an event at our local library in West Haven, Ct to celebrate Eleanor Estes birthday. Her daughter Helena will be there. We are also performing the play, using the same school desks that would have been in Wanda and Peggy's school in 1938.

whcdc.infos said...

Come see the play! Wonderful story with an excellent cast of children.