Book Review: The Hundred Dresses

Author: Eleanor Estes
Illustrator: Louis Slovodkin
Interest Level: Ages 9-12

From The Book Jacket: Wanda wears the same faded blue dress to school every day - yet she says she has one hundred beautiful dresses at home, "all lined up." The other girls don't believe it, and when Peggy starts a daily game of teasing Wanda about the hundred dresses, everyone joins in. Maddie, Peggy's best friend goes along with the game, but she secretly wonders whether she can find the courage to speak up in Wanda's defense.

It's not until Wanda fails to come to school one day that her classmates learn the truth about the hundred dresses - and Maddie and Peggy learn the meaning of kindness and generosity of spirit.

Why It's On My Bookshelf: This is a solid resource I use with my bullying curriculum for grades 3-5. Some children are relentlessly picked on. I am usually part of the healing process when it comes time for apologies and making amends in these situations. But what if you don't get the chance to say you're sorry? The Hundred Dresses is a stand out read in my opinion because of the remorse factor in one of the characters. She feels awful about her behavior. I live for the discussion this draws out of students. There's a bit of a mean girls theme going on in the story. It is so sad to see a group mess with someone's feelings. Often times, those participating don't want to be part of the teasing and deep down wish they could put a stop to it. The Hundred Dresses speaks directly to those students. There is an energy in the room when we finish reading. It's a story that increases kindness, empathy, and making amends with those we have injured. I also see groups forming in 4-5 grades so this helps me break down those "clique" barriers. PS. This is a true story!

A Link to This Book:


  1. Oh, I'm glad you shared this one. I haven't read it but it is definitely now on my "to buy" list since bullying is so prevalent in our schools, especially the older children get.

  2. This is definitely a favorite of mine. I had one little boy say, "No one deserves to be treated that way." Kind of became our motto... I've turned into a nice little book study because it's not too terribly long.

  3. Your blog is amazing and wonderful! So happy to have discovered it. I'll bookmark and return often! Thank you...

  4. Oh thanks! I love reading your book reviews, Esme! It's given me lots of ideas on books to buy for my school counseling curriculum.