The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

The Hundred Dresses Children's Book

Wanda Petronski, a young girl from Poland, had a “funny” last name, and always wore the same faded blue dress to school.

When questioned by the other girls about why she always wore the same dress, she always said she had 100 dresses at home, “all lined up.”

A game began, where Wanda was questioned every day on the way to school about her 100 dresses.

None of the other girls believed her, so they taunted her about it. While Peggy initiated the game, Maddie is the friend who played along, but wondered if she could muster the courage to speak up in defense of Wanda. While Maddie never did speak up for Wanda, when Wanda suddenly moved out of state, Maddie was left to live with her decision not to stand up for the girl who really needed a friend and an ally. She had to live with the fact that she didn’t.

While Wanda ultimately writes Maddie and Peggy a letter expressing forgiveness, Maddie isn’t sure she can ever forgive herself.

This beloved, timeless classic and Newberry Award winner is a testament to the fact that sometimes, when we have the chance to do the right thing, we must do it, or it may be too late.

Reviewed by Jeneka Ossa