Monday, September 19, 2011
Children's Classics: The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes; illustrated by Louis Slobodkin
Through Estes' understated, unemotional writing, the little cruelties of the girls stand in sharp relief, and Maddie's moral dilemma is more poignant. One of the things I love about this story and what makes it so effective, is that the ending is so bitter-sweet, much like real life. Maddie learns a deep, lasting lesson, but too late to change how she treats Wanda. It is questionable how much of a lesson the other girls have learned. Again, much like real life. We, the readers, absorb the lesson, and at the same time, learn that some situations in life are not cut and dried, so to speak, but full of contradiction and nuance. We learn to be careful, because we can't always right the wrongs we do.