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The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes Annotation Wanda Petronski wore the same faded-blue dress to school every day. It was always clean, but it looked as though it had never been ironed properly. One day when a classmate showed up wearing a bright new dress that was much admired, Wanda said suddenly "I have a hundred dresses at home." That had started the teasing game of dresses, which Peggy and Maddie played with Wanda. It was fun to stop Wanda on the way to school and ask, "How many dresses did you say you had?" Wanda did have the hundred dresses, and this is the story how Peggy and Maddie came to understand about them and what the game meant to Wanda. About the Author Eleanor Ruth Rosenfeld (Estes) was born May 9, 1906 and she loved to tell stories to children. She began by working as a children's assistant in her hometown library, but when she became sick with tuberculosis, she spent the quiet days of her recovery writing down her childhood memories as a series of stories for young readers. Eleanor Estes and her husband Rice--who was also a librarian--moved around the country a lot during those productive years with their only daughter, Helena. Helena would become a major inspiration for two of her children's books, The Witch Family, a fantasy, and the picture book, A Little Oven. Several of her later short works from the 1970s, The Coat-Hanger Christmas Tree and The Lost Umbrella of Kim Chu, explore children's persevering spirits in the face of dysfunctional families. Awards In 1962, Eleanor Estes received the Certificate of Award for Outstanding Contribution to Children's Literature and was nominated for the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award in 1970. Ginger Pye earned the Herald Tribune Spring Book Festival Award in 1951. The Middle Moffat (1943), The Hundred Dresses (1944), and Rufus M. (1943) were also Newbery Honor books. At the time of her death in 1988, Eleanor Estes had written 19 books for children and one adult novel.

Book Club Activities o o o Create paper dolls and make paper dresses. Draw a dress to be entered into a contest and create a journal entry about your feelings. Research your country of origin and present/discuss it.

Discussion Guide for The Hundred Dresses Friendship, peer pressure, regret, and courage are all issues that are integral to this story. 1) What kind of personality does Wanda appear to have by the way she looks and acts? o Why do you think Wanda said she had 100 dresses in her closet? o Why do you think Wanda likes to sit in the back of the room? o Do you think Wanda doesn't have friends because she doesn't want to have friends? 2) Who do you think is a hero in this book? Is there more than one hero? What qualities does this person have that makes them a hero? 3) The hundred dresses game started when Cecile wore a new bright crimson dress to school one day. o How do you think Cecile felt that day? o Do you remember a time that you wore something new and how you felt that day? 4) If you played the game that Peggy and Maddie played, would you feel very good inside? o What does Maddie really think about the game that Peggy and Maddie play with Wanda? o Why do you think Maddie has a hard time standing up to her friend Peggy? o What would you say to Peggy if she was your friend? o How does Maddie treat Wanda differently in her dreams? 5) Maddie decides that she is always going to stand up for someone who needs help. o Have you ever stood up for someone who needed help? How did it make you feel? o Was there ever a time when you did not stand up for someone and wish you had? 6) Why do you think Wanda has a difficult time reading? 7) Why did Wanda move away? What were her father's reasons? o Why do you think Peggy asked Maddie to go to Wanda's house after school? o How do Peggy and Maddie feel when no one is home at Wanda's house? 8) Why do people in the town think that old man Svenson wasn't a good person? 9) Have you ever thought about the meaning of friendship? What is a friend? How do you get one and what do you do to keep one? 10) Do you think in the end Wanda forgave Peggy and Maddie for teasing her? 11) Do you think Wanda has a strange last name? What do you think about your own name? 12) Cultures are the different ways in which people live. Do you know different people from different cultures? 13) Every culture in the world has traditions. Traditions are customs and ways of doing things that are passed on from parents to children. Have you ever seen people from another country or other cultures do something that you thought was unusual? Just think, that person might think that some of things that you do are strange! Like eating a hot dog or playing football! _________________________________________________________________________

Courtesy of: Nancy Johnson (781) 793-0920


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