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The Hundred Dresses: Book Review


I read this book a long time ago and remember doodling dresses in the margins after I finished reading it. (Apparently, this habit has stuck with me ever since. Algebra teacher, I'm sorry I don't pay attention when you talk about scatter plots but I promise I have a beautiful silver dress in the left corner margin.)

I was traveling over Easter, so I decided to check out this sweet book for what I figured would be a quick read on the way up to Michigan. What was intended as a simple, 80-page novel written for third graders stuck with me much longer than I thought.

I try to rate books I hated and stopped reading with one star, books that were okay and I didn't finish two stars, ones I thought were pretty good three stars, ones I really liked four stars, and books that I absolutely adored five. It's been a few days since I read this, and I think The Hundred Dresses truly deserves a five-star rating from everyone.

Maddie is a student in a school in Connecticut. Her best friend, Peggy, who is also the most popular girl, likes to wait around for Wanda, the poor Polish student, in order to make fun of her. Maddie cringes inwardly whenever Peggy does these things, because she too is poor, but is afraid of speaking up. She doesn't understand why Wanda, when laughed at because of the worn blue dress she wears to school every day, insists that she has a hundred stunning dresses lined up in her closet at home. Events turn when Maddie and Peggy discover more about Wanda's one hundred gowns and kind heart, and wonder if it's too late for apologies.

This darling book is both timeless and simple. You expect the story to read as you predict, but you'll find you are very surprised by the turn of events. I appreciated the straightforward, open style of writing because it emphasized Eleanor Estes's important points in a way that would leave a mark in old and young readers. Perfect for lazy Sunday afternoons, reading in the sunshine, and plates of gooey gingersnaps, The Hundred Dresses is a charming and meaningful novel that will continue to quickly gain generations of adoring fans.

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