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The Hundred Dresses

Last updated Saturday, June 10, 2023

Author: Eleanor Estes
Illustrator: Louis Slobodkin
Date of Publication: 1944
ISBN: 0152373748
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Aug. 2004

Synopsis: Wanda Petronski lives way up in shabby Boggins Heights, and she doesn't have any friends. Every day she wears a faded blue dress, which wouldn't be too much of a problem if she didn't tell her schoolmates that she had a hundred dresses at home--all silk, all colors, and velvet, too.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Has anyone ever made fun of you? How did that feel?
•  Have you ever seen anyone get made fun of or called names?
•  Do you know any children that wear the same clothes over and over again? Why do they do that?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Why did Peggy make fun of Wanda?
•  Why did Wanda make up that story about the dresses?
•  Why did Maddie stand by and not do anything?
•  What would you have done instead? Do you think you would have done anything different?
•  What can you do when you should have done something, but you didn?t, and now it?s too late?

Craft ideas:
•  Write the letter Maddie should have written.
•  Have a contest for designing dresses and motor boats.

Special activities:
•  Practice interceding with bullying. Volunteers set up practice situations of common bullying, and have the children practice what they think they should do. Pretend they are strangers or friends with the bully or victim.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!