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Tales for Tots Tuesday: William’s Doll by Charlotte Zolotow


William’s Doll by Charlotte ZolotowI’ll confess – this isn’t a new read for me. My fondness for Charlotte Zolotow‘s William’s Doll actually goes back to Kindergarten when it was read to my class by the school librarian. At the age of five I was smitten with babies and was set to have 11 myself, and found it perfectly understandable that anyone, girl or boy, would want a doll to love and nurture.

William’s Doll is the story of a little boy who wishes to have a doll. His brother calls him a sissy, his father  buys him a basketball and train set but William’s desire for a doll doesn’t lessen.

In comes good ol’ Grandma who understands William, takes him to the toy shop and together they get the doll.

William’s father, upset by this, asks, “Why does he need a doll?” and Grandma kindly explains, “so that when he’s a father like you, he’ll know how to take care of his baby and feed him and love him and bring him the things he wants, like a doll so that he can practice being a father.

I like William’s Doll because it’s not preachy or harsh in its message. Zolotow gently challenges gender stereotypes through a story that reminds us of the individuality of children, their needs and desires. It also teaches children that they may not be understood by everyone but that is okay and there will be someone out there who will offer support.

William’s GrandmaThe images are quaint and perhaps a bit “old-fashioned” in style but this doesn’t detract from the book in any way.  Newer editions also have brightened up the colours a bit.

I’m pleased that even after 36 years since publication, William’s Doll is still a popular title in children’s books.

(The Reading to Kids website has some great discussion questions and activities for this book. Check it out!)

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