The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
With a name like that, you'd think it was a girls' book. And I suppose it is a book for girls. But it is also a book for boys because what it really is, is a book for children.
Little, Polish Wanda Petronski comes to school every day from Boggins Heights in the same blue dress. She is different from all the other children in clothes, in name, in residence and in manner. And children are not always nice when it comes to someone being different.
Peggy and Maddie are always on the lookout for Wanda. They like to have a little fun with her. They like to play a game called "The Hundred Dresses." For Wanda, in her shabby blue dress, claims that at home she has one hundred dresses, all lovely colors and rich fabrics. The girls quiz her about her wardrobe that she never wears so they might admire some of her dresses.
One day Wanda is not at school. In fact Wanda does not return at all, but she leaves something behind and in doing so she teaches a valuable lesson and is not forgotten.
The Hundred Dresses would be a fine book for first and second graders to read alone, but it makes an even better read aloud because it opens up many topics that are often familiar to children and by exploring the lessons in the book parents and children can talk about kindness and differences and how someone outside "the crowd" might feel.
Again, The Hundred Dresses was a book that I remember from when I was growing up. It left a memory on my heart that I've been happy to share with my children.
Elanor Estes' Newberry Honor Award book shares a timeless story and the dreamy, vague almost impressionistic illustrations by Louis Slobodkin allow children to put themselves into the story.
Children's Book Monday is home at A Path Made Straigth where you will find Elise and everyone who loves children's books who join her.