The Hundred Dresses

The Hundred Dresses

Paperback - 2004
Average Rating:
Rate this:
In winning a medal she is no longer there to receive, a tight-lipped little Polish girl teaches her classmates a lesson.
Publisher: Orlando, Fla. : Harcourt, [2004], c1972.
ISBN: 9780152052607
Characteristics: 80 pages :,illustrations (chiefly color) ;,22 cm.
Additional Contributors: Slobodkin, Louis 1903-1975- Illustrator
Alternative Title: 100 dresses.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Aug 23, 2018

This has been one of my favorites! I have a copy at home! It's just heart wrenching but amazing at the same time!

Feb 04, 2018

Wanda is the poor motherless girl from Poland. By the author's description, you get the feeling that even if she doesn't have a perfect verbal command of English, she understands perfectly what is said to and about her and her shabby clothing. Worlds apart is Peggy, the popular rich girl in her class. After Wanda makes an attempt to fit into a conversation by talking about her beautiful dresses, Peggy begins what seems like a game to her and taunts Wanda daily in front of a crowd of classmates about all of the beautiful dresses in her closet.

Bridging their world is Maddie, Peggy's best friend. While she isn't isolated by a language barrier and has Peggy's unspoken social protection, she is uncomfortably aware that her poverty makes her more similar to Wanda than Peggy. While Maddie gratefully accepts Peggy's castoffs, she is terrified of the power Peggy's generosity gives her. The daily game of picking on Wanda continually hardens Maddie's uncomfortable vulnerability; she is keenly aware that speaking out in Wanda's defense could put her in Wanda's place.

The truth is that Wanda does have 100 dresses, just not the kind Peggy has. The book ends on a melancholy note. Maddie (and perhaps Peggy) become better people as a result of what happens to Wanda and her family, but Maddie (and the reader) are haunted by Wanda's unknown fate.

Sep 12, 2017

A very important book for learning to build quality friendships and having the courage to step up when someone is being made fun of. A young girl is constantly being put on the spot and made fun of in what seem a not a very threatening way but being bullied nonetheless. So much so, that she ends up moving away.

Of the two friends responsible for the torment, one is usually the one making fun and the other staying quiet about it. The quiet one ends up extremely remorseful (the premise of this author's work in her personal life) and can't shake the feeling. She vows to never stay quiet when someone else is being bullied, never ever again. Her remorse is touching and a quality to focus on from this while raising young children.

This book is relatively easy to read and work through, not to harsh on the spirit yet strong enough to make a valuable point.

Dec 26, 2016

A gem from the past. Find a child and read it to them.

rere3 Aug 30, 2015

An important book with valuable lessons on bullying, class differences and childhood. Certainly even adults can feel the pang of emotion this book evokes.

Nov 18, 2014

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.

Mark_Daly 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.

Heather Glenna Fortuny Apr 04, 2014

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.

Sidewinder88 Oct 30, 2013

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.

ggbookreader Oct 30, 2013

"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. :) :)

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

Apr 21, 2017

Tjad2L thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Nov 18, 2014

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

indigo_cheetah_80 Jun 21, 2012

indigo_cheetah_80 thinks this title is suitable for 7 years and over

red_ladybug_224 Jun 18, 2012

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


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings

SLS owns a similar edition of this title.

View originally-listed edition

Report edition-matching error

To Top