The Hundred Dresses

by Eleanor Estes
96 pages, Historical Fiction
Reviewed by Aslan's Lamb

An intelligent, original story with characters that kids will find it easy to relate to.


Wanda Petronski is the outcast of her fifth grade class. She is poor and and foreign and doesn't belong. One day, she tells the other girls that she has a hundred dresses in her closet. The others find this very funny and question her every day about the dresses. Secretly, a girl named Maddie sympathizes with Wanda but she's afraid to speak up; she might become a target as well. One day, Wanda moves away. But the results of an art competition reveal a whole new side of her. Now Maddie and her best friend want to somehow let Wanda know they're sorry, but it might be too late.


This story explores why girls participate in bullying. The main characters change and grow for the better.

Spiritual Content




Drug and Alcohol Content


Sexual Content


Crude or Profane Language or Content

The word "Polack" is used. In the context, it is understood that it is an offensive name.


A story that explores bullying from an unusual point of view, not that of the person being bullied, but that of the bystander. Maddie's internal conflict and the way the girls change towards the end make this story a delight.

Fun Score: 4.5
Values Score: 5
Written for Age: 8-10

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