Friday, January 2, 2015

Review: The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

Synopsis: Eleanor Estes’s The Hundred Dresses won a Newbery Honor in 1945 and has never been out of print since. At the heart of the story is Wanda Petronski, a Polish girl in a Connecticut school who is ridiculed by her classmates for wearing the same faded blue dress every day. Wanda claims she has one hundred dresses at home, but everyone knows she doesn’t and bullies her mercilessly. The class feels terrible when Wanda is pulled out of the school, but by that time it’s too late for apologies. Maddie, one of Wanda’s classmates, ultimately decides that she is "never going to stand by and say nothing again." This powerful, timeless story has been reissued with a new letter from the author’s daughter Helena Estes, and with the Caldecott artist Louis Slobodkin’s original artwork in beautifully restored color. (from the online description)

Review: Considering the current buzz about bullying, one might think it is a current issue. Estes' book shows that it is not. Written in 1945, from the perspective of the flunky of the bully, it is a powerful tale about speaking up for others and not being silent. This is a worthwhile book to read to children (and frankly, I know adults who could benefit from this lesson as well). Highly recommend. 

Bookmarks:  7 of 10

Awards: Newbery Award, 1945

ISBN: 0-15-642350-2
Date Finished: 12-5-2014
Pages: 80

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