The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Soon after starting at a new school, Wanda becomes the focus of a daily taunting by the other girls. Wanda wears the same—albeit clean and pressed—blue dress to school every day and, on top of that, the kids think that she has a strange last name: “Petronski.” On the way to school one day, Wanda feels less shy than normal and whispers to Peggy, the prettiest and most popular girl in class, that she has one hundred dresses at home in her closet. Clearly, she’s not telling the truth, but Peggy doesn’t let the subject drop; instead, she asks Wanda every single day thereafter how many dresses she has…and Wanda always answers the same way. Following her answer, the girls laugh and then ignore her.
Peggy’s best friend Maddie doesn’t like how the girls follow Peggy’s lead and make fun of Wanda. Maddie knows that she should say something to Peggy about stopping the teasing, but Maddie is afraid that Peggy will start making fun of her instead!
When Wanda and her family suddenly move away, Maddie feels awful that she never had a chance to apologize to her and must deal with her feelings of guilt and shame over her behavior.
This is a quick read that will leave the reader thinking long after the story ends. It takes place in the 1940s, although there is no mention of the war. For readers seeking a sweet story about friendship and acceptance, recommend this.
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