Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes | Book Review

The Hundred Dresses was a short, sweet story that packs a lot of punch!  I picked it up to read because my library's partner organization, a children's theater, is going to perform a play version here in early May.  I'm pretty excited.  It's going to be quite a production!  I'm working with a coworker to design a book display to showcase the upcoming play and to highlight bullying.

Yes: bullying.  In 1945, I think Eleanor Estes was a little ahead of the curve with this book, which confronts bullying at it's worst.  The main character, Wanda Petronski, only has one dress to wear.  All the other girls in the class have multiple pretty dresses, but she just has one plain blue unadorned dress.  She's clean; she washes it nearly every night, but the other girls still tease her.  Her classmates also tease her for her funny last name.  And then Wanda insists on telling the girls that she has one hundred dresses all lined up in her closet, so the other girls pick up on teasing her for that too.  Why on earth would she keep wearing one shabby blue dress every day if she has a hundred more at home?

Then comes the day of the art competition at school.  All the girls are excited to show off their dress design sketches.  When they arrive, they're in for quite the surprise!

This is a juvenile book, so it's definitely short.  But it's got themes and discussion points that are poignant for any age.  And it's got great illustrations by Louis Slobodkin!  I love this book and definitely recommend it!

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