Our Books, Our Shelves

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Old-school!

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Writer’s Block

A couple of months ago I applied for a job that totally had my name on it (and then some). Just found out I lost out the position to someone who doesn’t nearly have the education, talent, skills, and expertise I have. I keep telling myself it’s the company’s loss, but right now I’m feeling a mixture of anger and sadness.

Book Review: The Hundred Dresses-The Most Styles of Our Time by Erin McKean

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Dress-obsessed Erin McKeon is the author of the book The Secret Life of Dresses and blogs about her fashion passion at her popular blog A Dress a Day.

Now she’s frock-focused talents to the delightful book The Hundred Dresses: The Most Iconic Styles of Our Time, a quasi grown up, non-fiction version of the children’s classic book The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes.

McKean’s book is a fabulous primer on dresses that take up space in our closets and our dreams. The dresses are casual, work related, and ready for the red carpet.

McKean’s exhaustive research and expertise focus on designer dresses, pop culture, Hollywood, Americana, and the global stage. McKean’s iconic runway of frocks include the ridiculous, the sublime and everything in-between. And illustrations by Donna Mehalko are top notch! Another welcome touch is a list of a hundred books on fashion at the end of this book.

Retro Review: The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

When I look back at the books I loved as a child I think of the books by Judy Blume, Dr. Seuss, and Laura Ingalls Wilder. I think of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the poetry of Shel Silverstein. I think of the classics and think of getting lost in a world of fairy tales, myths, legends, and folklore.

And then there is the Newberry Medal Winner The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes.

Even as a little girl I was a bit of a fashionista. I played dress up and adored my Barbies. I even made clothes for my paper dolls.

The Hundred Dresses is about two classmates and besties, Maddie and Peggy. Wanda Petronski is their classmate.

Wanda has a funny last name, lives in a scary place called Boggins Heights, and her family is very poor, not exactly a recipe for popularity.

Wanda also wears the same raggedy dresseveryday, which her leads her classmates to tease her, including Maddie and Peggy.

Wanda tells her classmates she has a hundred dresses at home. She has to be lying. If this is true why does she wear she wear the same dress? The girls continue to tease Wanda. They are total bullies.

Then one day Wanda isn’t in class. It turns out she won’t be back. The Petronski family are moving.

Soon after the class learns about Wanda’s hundred dresses, conveyed by her creative and artistic talents.

Though released in 1944, The Hundred Dresses is very important book. Bullying still exists and people deemed as different are still demonized.

But on a positive note, The Hundred Dresses is an inspirational tale of how art and creative expression can be an act of healing and human connection.

I loved this book as a child, truly appreciate it as an adult. Estes’s writing is warm and heartfelt. And Louis Slobodkin’s impressionistic illustrations are lovely.

The Hundred Dresses is a tale that endures.

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