William's Doll
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William's Doll

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  350 ratings  ·  66 reviews
More than anything, William wants a doll. "Don't be a creep," says his brother. "Sissy, sissy," chants the boy next door. Then one day someone really understands William's wish, and makes it easy for others to understand, too.
Paperback, 32 pages
Published May 1st 1985 by HarperCollins (first published May 10th 1972)
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Rad kids' book about a (white) boy who is teased for and distracted from (unsuccessfully) wanting a doll. When I read this to my kids, I was a little uncomfortable with William being teased- I would have preferred a more positive storyline so the kids don't get any ideas, but it was written in an age where this was the norm. Great for someone being teased for stepping out of their assigned gender roles. In the end, William's grandmother buys him a doll,"so he'll know how to take care of his baby...more
First published in 1972, this one has held its place in the canon of children's literature. For better or worse (probably worse) there continue to be few books in which boys resist social expectations surrounding 'appropriately' gendered ways to be nurturing. This simple text tackles several ideas, including teasing and bullying (as it comes from peers and family members) and gender stereotyping. I appreciate the way that book stresses that having a doll and being nurturing doesn't supersede or...more
Skylar Burris
I don't much care for children's stories that preach to parents rather than simply telling a good story to the kids. This is one. It rather assumes the reading parent needs to be educated about allowing a boy child to play with a doll. It did not hold my daughter's interest, and I haven't dug it back out to read to my son, who is, at this age at least, under no threat of being called a sissy for playing with dolls.

I suppose if you have one of the rare 0.5% of boys who, given an undirected choic...more
Robert Moushon
Zolotow, C. (1972). William’s doll (W. Péne Du Bois, Illustrator). China : HarperCollins Publishers.

Characters: The titular William, a young white boy with blond hair. His brother and his neighbor, a pair of tennis-playing tormentors. William’s father, a faceless entity in the story providing William with masculine gifts. William’s grandmother, who sees why William really yearns for a doll.

Setting: In and around a 1970s American home.

Themes: Bullying, Genders, Stereotypes, Communication

Genre: CS...more
William WANTS a doll but his brother and friend makes fun of him. His dad buys him a basketball and a train set which he plays with but he STILL wants a doll! Wait till Grandmother comes to visit and see what SHE does... This is an excellent book for kids AND adults! Very simple but to the point.
Shannon Kitchen
My heart literally hurt while I was reading this. I almost started crying. It reminds me so much of the story I've heard about my husband and his doll. I wish so many more people would read this book. Boys need to learn to be nurturers too!
This book is about a boy who wants a doll, but is discouraged by peers and father.
Themes -- gender roles, acceptance
I wouldn't use this book with children, it is preachy towards parents with a dull story line.
Linda Lipko
Written in 1972, this book was daring for the time.

I'd like to think that society is much more accepting of little boys who don't want to play rough and tumble sports, who don't care for basketball (even if they are good at it) and who want to play with a doll.

William longs for a doll to play with. All the taunting and teasing by his brother and neighborhood boy, naturally called names like sissy and creepy, did not take away the desire William had to possess a doll.

His grandmother understood hi...more
Weird in a Dare Wright way. What Southerners would call "sweet"--and not in a nice way.
Published- New York, Harper & Row [1972]
ISBN- 0-06-027048-9
Illustrated by William Pène Du Bois
Reading Level- 2nd-3rd grade
Genre- Fable

This is a great story when trying to teach children about how it's important to fight for what you want. A young boy named William wants a doll, but his father along with this brother and friends think he'll be a sissy if he has a doll. His father keeps buying him other things he thinks are more appropriate toys for boys to play with like a basketball and tr...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 20, 2012 Callie added it
Grade/interest level: Primary (K-2)
Reading level: Fountas-Pinnell L/Lexile 840L
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Picture book

Main Characters: William, his family (dad, brother, grandma)
Setting: William’s Home
POV: Third Person

This is a story of a little boy who wants a doll for a toy. His father does not like the idea of him having a doll and tries to persuade him to play with other toys that society would consider more appropriate for a boy to play with, such as a basketball or train set. William...more
Zolotow, Charlotte, and Bois William Pène Du. William's Doll. New York: Harper & Row, 1972. Print.
Genre: Children’s Picture Book
William’s Doll by Charlotte Zolotow is a story about a little boy who longs for a doll of his own. This story is a great anti-biased book that challenges the typical stereotyped stories concerning gender. This book shows children that it is okay to be interested in anything that you want. It allows children to see that they should not be concerned about what those...more
Emily Levings
Zolotow, C. (1972). William's Doll. NY: The Trumpet Club.

For being a children's book William's Doll discusses important stereotypes that many people see today. As a child I personally hated dolls and loved sports. This would be a good book for children ages 6-9 because it is set up fairly different than other books. I think this is a great book, and I enjoyed reading it.
Did you ever want a toy that noone else seemed to like? What about having toys that maybe your brother called you a baby for having or wanting? How about if you are a girl and you want a firetruck or if you are a boy and you like to watch the show Power Puff girls?

This book is about a boy, William. He wants a doll to play with for many reasons that he gives in the book. His dad keeps buying him toys for boys like trucks and train sets. William likes playing with these toys that his Dad buys but...more
Aug 18, 2011 Stephanie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Stephanie by: Sonlight
Shelves: homeschool
William's Doll is about just that. A doll. Simple and sweet and used to be quite the inspiration of the day back in the early 70's. But it is more common now-a-days to allow children to explore both sides of the coin (so to speak) so this book seems to have less impact.
I never read this as a child but had seen the film "Free to be You and Me" where there is a cartoon with this very story. Apparently this book inspired the TV special that was then shown in schools to encourage toleration of diffe...more
Diane Severson
This is a lovely little book. I know this story myself because of Free to be... You and Me, in which a beautiful musical version of the story is presented. That version is a little different from the original, so don't expect exactly the same words. The musical version rhymes and the book doesn't, but the story and sentiment and message are exactly the same, which is why I think this is such a wonderful book. I think it's important for young boys to grow up to be good fathers (even if that's not...more
Ryan Treaster
William really wants a doll that he an hug and take care of. His dad tries to get him off the idea of a doll by buying him a basketball and other things. Although William enjoys these things alot, he does not stop wanting this doll. This is a great book for teaching children to not try and change people and reinforcing that it is not weird to want something like a dull.

Reading Level- Early
Curricular Uses- Independent reading or read aloud
Social Issues- Teaches people to not try and change people...more
Katie Fitzgerald
The illustrations look a tad on the dated side - the style of clothing, especially, is very 1970's, and the thin blue border around each page reminded of me an elementary school basal reader. But the message still stands strong - being who you are, whoever that is, and liking what you like, whatever that is, is a good thing.

I think the world is a lot more progressive these days, so maybe there aren't as many dads worrying about their sons playing with dolls, but I have no doubt there are still...more
An absolutely sweet and quiet tale of a young boy who, despite his father's best efforts to get him interested in trains and basketball, simply wants a doll to love. And why not? Especially when William practices being a caring, loving father with his doll. A lovely story of accepting your child's desires in spite of traditional gender norms.
A touching book from (surprisingly) 1970: William wants a doll. He wants to pet it and love it and dress it and take it for walks in the park and put it to bed, wake it in the morning and repeat again. His brother laughs at him. His brother's friend mocks him. His father gives him boy toys, and William dutifully plays with and even enjoys the train set and basketball hoop, but still William longs for a doll. Only his grandmother (his father's mother) understands; she not only buys William a doll...more
Amanda Day
This is a story about a young boy that wants a doll to play with. The other little boys make fun of him because it is not something that boys play with, and his dad keeps getting him 'boy toys'. Eventually his grandmother gives him a doll to play with. His dad is upset by this because he is not playing with what boys tradtionally play with. His grandmother explains that he is just practicing being a father and their is nothing wrong with that.

This would be a great story to help challenge gender...more
Evelyn Matias
This book is a good book to read to children about bullying. It gives the example of a little boy who wants a doll and how his family memebers make fun of him. For being written in early 1970's I thought the author had written it well, so well it still works today and gets the point across. I do however think it could have been a little bit more of a possitive story but I it is very realistic which makes it real. I would have this book on my shelf, I think it will give young children many things...more
William loves dolls. He wants nothing more than to dress up, sleep with, and a groom a doll. William wants to make sure his doll has a pretty white dress with a bonnet. His father wants him to play with trains, a basketball, and with the other boys in the neighborhood. William tries these things, but doesn’t like any of it. All he can think about is a doll. William’s grandmother takes him to get a doll and William is elated. His father becomes upset, but finally agrees that William having a doll...more
This book is 41 years old! I would have loved this book several times through the years. I gave my own son a doll and there were those who were surprised. I hope you can find the book and read about the importance of boys needing dolls just as much as girls. In the story, dear to my heart, William’s grandmother buys him a doll. Her answer to why: because he needs to love and care for his doll, to practice being a father!
This is a story about a little boy named William who wanted a doll. He would ask his father for a doll but his father would buy him other toys. Just because he wanted a doll, does not make him a sissy, it shows that he wants to be a good father one day. This would be a cute book to have students read to show that just because you are a boy or a girl does not mean you can only play with certain toys, you can play with any toy.
This book is about a boy who wants a doll, but his father does not want him to have one. One day.......

Positive: I liked that this book could have been true, so the person reading the book thinks it might be, which for me makes it better.

Lesson: Believe in yourself, and don't listen to other people when they are going against your dreams.
Julie Woods
This book shows young boys that's its ok for a boy to want a doll cherish and hold. I read this story to my son, and he thought it was very odd for him to want a doll. I explained to him that dolls can be for girls or boys and that it gives children practice on how to treat a real child they may have of their own one day.
Wooden Horse
I forget when I was first introduced to this book. I know it was before 2003 but I don't remember how long before 2003 just that it was sometime between 1994 and .... probably 2000. Anyway it's fantastic! The Grandmother convinces her son that his son needs a doll so that he can practice being a good father.
Un petit garçon qui veut jouer à la poupée : pourquoi est-ce si mal vu ? Il sera père un jour et devra prendre soin de son enfant !
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Charlotte Zolotow (born Charlotte Gertrude Shapiro) was an American author, poet, editor, and publisher of many books for children.
She was published by more than 20 different houses (many of which she has outlasted). She was an editor, and later publisher, at Harper & Row, which was called Harper & Brothers when she began to work there and is now known as HarperCollins.
Among the many write...more
More about Charlotte Zolotow...
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