I was planning on posting this next week, but with Charlotte Zolotow‘s passing, I’m publishing it early. The NY Times wrote this remembrance and I think the following book demonstrates what she’s quoted there as saying: “We are not different from the children we were — only more experienced, better able to disguise our feelings from others, if not ourselves.”
William’s Doll by Charlotte Zolotow, pictures by William Pene Du Bois (1972).
I found this at a local bookstore that has a great selection of used books (Stories in Echo Park). I was immediately intrigued.
“William wanted a doll. He wanted to hug it and cradle it in his arms.” He wanted to take care of a doll like it was a baby. His baby. And he was the father.
William’s wish didn’t go down well with his brother and the boy next door. Yeah, they were mean. They called William a creep and a sissy. Whoa. And his father was not going to get the boy a doll. He got him other “boyish” stuff instead.
William really liked the basketball his father got. And the electric train. “But he didn’t stop wanting a doll to hug and cradle and take to the park.” Those things were great, but he still wanted a doll. What a sweetie William was!
You know who understood him? William’s grandmother. She was more than happy to get the boy a doll. We should all have a grandmother like that. And we should have dolls. If we want them, that is.
I’m so drawn to the way this book was ahead of it’s time and also that it doesn’t make any assumptions about the boy. It’s simple. He simply wants a doll as some boys do. Grandma gets it, thank goodness. (And here’s the animated song that was adapted from the book!!)
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Small for Big, toy designer Mari Richards’s blog, is one sure place to find whimsical and extra special dolls. That’s where I found Finkelstein’s Center! They make dolls I think can be enjoyed by anyone of any age and any gender. Right? Perfect for hugging or gazing upon appreciatively. Perfect for offering comfort too. Behold these beautiful Finkelstein’s dolls on etsy!