I recently read the idiom, "Do not judge a book by it’s cover," and I guess that’s exactly true for the book I am reviewing. The name of the book is The Hundred Dresses and it is written by Eleanor Estes, and illustrated by Louis Slobodkin. The cover also has a silver round medal, meaning that it is a Newbery honor book.
So, when I saw this book in the bookstore, I was immediately drawn to it. The cover was pretty and colorful and it had beautiful and colorful illustrations inside. I quickly skimmed through the back of the book and soon bought it. I started reading the book. In the car itself. At first, I thought the book was going to be about a hundred dresses, but the real story had a very different meaning. Even though it is about a hundred dresses but, in a very different way, something that a reader wouldn't have imagined. By reading the note from the author's daughter in the first four pages, you can figure out that the book is about bullying. I was surprised to read that the author is one of the mean girls in the story and she wrote this book because she felt awful about how she helped a bully. She couldn’t ask for forgiveness at that time so this was her way of doing that. So basically what makes this book even more interesting is that it is written from the view of the person who is the bully's friend and kind of bully herself.
The story is about three main characters, Wanda, Peggy, and Maddie. Wanda Petronski is a Polish girl who is new to the school and in the same grade as Peggy and Maddie. She wears the same faded blue dress to school every day--yet she says she has a hundred pretty dresses, all lined up in her closet. The other girls, Peggy and Maddie, make fun of her uncommon last name and her dress and what she says about her hundred dresses. But when Wanda leaves the city and moves to another city, Maddie, one of the bullies, starts feeling bad for the way she didn’t stand up for Wanda when she was being bullied by her closest friend, Peggy, and the other girls.
What I loved about this story is how at the end the mean girls realized their mistake. The story is also about friendship and realizing mistakes and forgiving and teaches you to be kind, and not bully other people, even if they have a funny name or something. And if you see a person being bullied, stand up for them. A way to remember this is, "Silence is violence," which means you are also committing crime if you do not stand up against the bullies.
Though The Hundred Dresses was written a long time ago, the message it gives, can be used today, since being kind is a message that will always be important and needed in the world. I highly recommend The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes to everyone.
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes. Houghton Mifflin, 2004. Buy the book here and support Stone Soup in the process!