Eleanor Estes earned a Newbery Honor in 1945 for The Hundred Dresses, the story of a little immigrant girl named Wanda who wears the same dress to school every day. When she gets tired of being teased, she tells her classmates that her closet at home contains 100 dresses. This "restored" edition brings the delicate lines and colors of Louis Slobodkin's art to life. There's also a new letter to readers from Helena Estes about how her mother came to write this classic (these background notes are always fascinating). It turns out that the author was inspired by a girl in her own class who always wore the same dress and was teased, and then moved away. Helena Estes explains that her mother never had a chance to apologize: "What could she do so many years later, my mother wondered, to set things right to reach out to the girl who had stood lonely and silent against the red brick wall of the school? Well, she thought, the one thing she could do was to write her story." Why does our school district pick such a book for required reading, one so seemingly a "girl's story"? It's a splendid tale that's why and a grand lesson on teasing, bullying and forgiveness.

Alice Cary writes from Groton, Massachusetts.

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