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William's Doll

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  435 ratings  ·  78 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
Jaymie Christensen
This book tells the story of a little boy who wants a doll like the little neighbor girl’s. When William says so, his brother calls him a creep, and the neighbor boy calls him a sissy. His father simply starts bringing him “boy toys.” He buys him a basketball and hoop, a train set, and a tool bench, and William likes them, but still wants a doll. When William’s grandmother comes to visit he shows her his toys, but explains that what he really wants is a doll. His grandmother thinks that is wonde ...more
Eileen Goedert
William’s Doll is a great jumping off point for class discussions about gender and gender roles; teasing and bullying; and even family communication. With its mop-top boy-hero, this book looks somewhat dated, but the writing and emotion remains authentic and engaging. School-age William longs for a baby doll to take to the park and swing and to hug “just as though he were its father and it were his child.” William’s father ignores his request and buys him toys more typically associated with boys ...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
Although this is an old book, it is still relevant today. The protagonist William wants a doll. In American culture, people still look down upon boys that want to play with dolls. This book breaks down that stereotype when William learns that there is nothing wrong with the fact that he wants to play with a doll. This is a great read for boys that are struggling with being bullied because they like "girl activities." This book is also a great selection for Early Childhood educators to share with ...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
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
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
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
Simple and sweet way to show readers that everyone doesn't necessarily fit into the mold of what's a boy and what's a girl. Just because a boy may like something that can be considered girly, doesn't mean he's horrible at being a "boy." The father's responses to his son, and then the grandma's response was a nice touch. There were realistic touches here, but it was nice that at the end, there was a positive presence for the boy to rely on.
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
Suburban Homeschooler
I'm torn...don't care for the teasing and name-calling, but that could be a reality for some. I like that just because he wants a doll doesn't mean he can't enjoy basketball, trains, etc. the ending is nice--with a message that seems to be aimed at parents--not children. So...who is this book written for?
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
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
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
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
Quite a groundbreaking and forward looking book. More than 40 years after first being published in 1972, it is just as relevant today. It is a gentle story and I liked it.
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
Jul 15, 2014 Brienz marked it as to-read
" . . . master of the genre" of bibliotherapy for kids, according to Leonard S. Marcus in the 7/13/14 NYTimes.
Is it ok for a boy to want a doll? This book might be a good story to open up a classroom debate.
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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
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