53 pages 1 hour read

Eleanor Estes

The Hundred Dresses

Fiction | Novella | Middle Grade | Published in 1944

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The Hundred Dresses

  • Genre: Fiction; children’s/middle grade classic novella
  • Originally Published: 1944
  • Reading Level/Interest: Lexile 870L; grades 3-5
  • Structure/Length: 7 chapters; approx. 80 pages; approx. 54 minutes on audio
  • Protagonist and Central Conflict: A young girl, Maddie, snubs a girl in her class, Wanda Petronski, who claims she has one hundred dresses. A classroom contest reveals to Maddie that she was wrong to tease and exclude Wanda, whose actions show forgiveness and acceptance.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Bullying; brief reference to dated national/racial slurs

Eleanor Estes, Author

  • Bio: 1906-1988; born in Connecticut; credits her mother’s stories with promoting her love of literature; worked as a children’s librarian before falling ill with tuberculosis; her illness prompted her to begin writing; wrote 20 books for children, including popular stories about the Moffats, a family inspired by her own from childhood; earned the Newbery Medal (for Ginger Pye; 1952); awarded Certificate of Award for Outstanding Contribution to Children’s Literature (1968)
  • Other Works: The Moffats (1941); Ginger Pye (1951); Pinky Pye (1958); The Witch Family (1960); The Alley (1964); The Lollipop Princess (1967); The Moffat Museum (1983)
  • Awards: Newbery Honor (1945)

CENTRAL THEMES connected and noted throughout this Teaching Unit:

  • The Power of Imagination
  • The Damaging Effect of Bullying and Discrimination
  • The Importance of Respect and Kindness