Monday, November 18, 2013

The Book All Children (and Richie Incognito) Should Read

Bookshelf space in our home is at a high premium especially for children's books.

Our life is full of books.

Our school curriculum revolves around books and requires a hefty amount of reading aloud as well as individual reading.

Normal conversations around our home begin, "Hey Dad! I finished my book today!" or "What are you enjoying reading lately?" and often "Do you have time to read to me before bedtime? Pleeeeeeezzzzeeee?"

We are faithful, fine-paying library patrons and lately we've taken to ordering more and more school books and "for fun" book to read on e-readers, a large factor being a lack of shelf space.

Earlier today, Kate and Molly and I finished a book that earned its place on the shelf with my favorite childhood books. The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes sits now beside my 30 year old Ballet Shoes series by Noel Streatfeild and the Betsy-Tacy books by Maude Hart Lovelace.

 I didn't read The Hundred Dresses as a child, neither did I read it to Cole and Meg when they were younger though I think Meg may have enjoyed it on her own.

I feel strongly, that every child should read it or have it read to them.

The Hundred Dresses is a story mostly about three little girls, two of whom are best friends and the third who is delicately, slightly, demurely but absolutely ridiculed by the two friends. That the story is told from the point of view of the cute little bullies causes the story to communicate on a deeper level than that of a story told from the prospective of ridiculed.

At a slight 78 pages of large print this book is neither uncomfortable in its plot, nor uncomfortably stressing as a result of its theme. The author beautifully tells a story about these three girls and how very much their lives affected and instructed one another's.

Published in 1944, and not as a response to headlines of recent days, this book is filled with beautiful watercolor paintings and a simple straightforward message for children and adults alike. If it can be said that there exists a beautiful book about bullying, this is it.

The Hundred Dresses is a book that can easily be read aloud to children as young as Molly (5) in three sittings or can be read on one's own in much shorter time for older children. I think though that the optimal way to enjoy this book is aloud to as many children as you can get in a room so that it can be talked about and learned from together.

Click here for the link and here for more information about this lovely read.

“Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled, ‘This could change your life.’”
-Helen Exley

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