Theme: Bullying and Differences
This story is told from Maddie's perspective (main character), a girl in the other main character's class (Wanda Petronski). Wanda is a friendless polish girl who is constantly teased for her strange last name as well as the same tattered blue dress she wears everyday to school. Wanda claims she owns 100 dresses that are located in the closet of her worn down home. The girls in her class refuse to believe her and ask her to describe one of her dresses everyday. Eventually Wanda ends up moving to the city, and enters a dress design competition. This proves that she was telling the truth and the girls who made her life miserable are very impressed by her talent as an artist.
- Have students make predictions about the book based on cover and title. You will discuss with students ways that they are different from one another. Also discuss the positive and negative aspects about being different.
- Review with students the meaning of character traits. If the class doesn’t already have a list of common character traits, make one before students complete the activity.
- As the students read the story, have them fill in two charts, one for each character. There should be a blank chart on each side of the paper. Have the students leave the boxes labeled “character traits” empty until after the story is finished. Discuss how a character’s actions, words, feelings, and thoughts determine their character.
- Once the students have compared the two characters, they will use that information to determine how each of those characters would react to a certain situation. Explain to students that people respond to situations differently depending on their character and beliefs. Read aloud the example situation on the “What Would They Do?” worksheet. Explain to the students that they are going to write how they think their two characters would respond to the situation based on their character traits and the character comparison charts. Have students share their responses when finished.