Tag Archives: picture book month

william’s doll/dolls for all

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.





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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.


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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!



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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.


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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!

Unicorn and horse.

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Raccoon and alligator.

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Black sheep and boy/bearded man.

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Boy and girl.

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i had a favorite dress/snip, snip, sew, sew

ihadafavoritedressI Had a Favorite Dress by Boni Ashburn, pictures by Julia Denos.

Doesn’t everyone wish they could sew? Some people can. And those people are perfect for kids’ constantly outgrown wardrobes.

In Boni Ashburn‘s delightful book a girl outgrows her favorite dress. But not to worry. Her DIY mom transforms it into a ruffly shirt instead. Snip, snip, sew, sew, new shirt, hello! Problem solved.

Until girl outgrows shirt. Not to worry. Mom continues making that dress into new things: shirt to tank, tank to skirt, skirt to scarf, and so on.




And Julia Denos‘s illustrations? They’re a perfect match. Full of whimsy and creativity and fun. (I loved Denos’s work that was so suited to Just Being Audrey as well.)












Thanks to Abrams for the images.

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I desperately wanted to do something DIY in the spirit of this book. Only I’m one of those people who doesn’t sew. Or have kids. So I turned to friends who are pros.

That’s where 10 year old twins, Nola and Ziggy come in. Nola’s outgrown a dress she wore for a wedding and Ziggy’s pants and button down no longer fit.  All of it’s cute but now simply too small.

Here the clothes are BEFORE, a bit forlorn, just longing to become something wearable again.


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That’s where uber talented Los Angeles-based designer, Jill Aiko Yee comes in.  Jill has a signature aesthetic, creating a “uniform for creative women” that’s functional and stylish at the same time. (And I’m the proud owner of this entire outfit.)


Jill Aiko Yee Jesper Norgaard

Photo by Jesper Norgaard.


Jill snip, snipped, sew, sewed Nola and Ziggy’s outgrown items into these…

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Festive, ruffly, contrast top, hello!

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And fashion-forward cropped pants, hello!


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Not only are Nola and Ziggy  stylish, spunky, and adorable, they’re loads of fun too. Let’s just say there was a What Does the Fox Say? dance party during a good chunk of this photo shoot.


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Even Romy the dog got a temporary new outfit made from Ziggy’s too small shirt! Recognize that checkered pattern?


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Huge thanks to Ziggy and Nola and their talented parents, Dane and Israel. Also thanks to generous designer, Jill Yee.


This post makes me happy and I hope it makes you happy too!


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