Tag Archives: vintage picture book
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!
I so enjoyed Jessica’s book chat at Sweet Green Tangerine, I wanted to join in myself. The topic? The first book you loved.
Hands down Benjamin Dilley’s Thirsty Camel by Jolly Roger Bradfield is the first book I loved. I still love it. I didn’t have a ton of picture books as a kid, so the ones I did stick out vividly. But this one sticks out most of all.
“People said that Benjamin Dilley was a dreamer; but the truth was that he had a wonderful imagination.”
Benjamin imagined a hippo, a genie, a goat driving a race car, a turtle wearing a turtleneck. And MORE. And on the day there was a leak in the basement, he imagined a camel with glasses he could play ping pong with while his dad fixed the leaky pipe.
(My favorite spread ^)
Only Benjamin Dilley’s dad didn’t fix the pipe. He broke it more and the whole basement started to flood. But during the panic of Benjamin’s parents calling the plumbers and amassing mops and buckets, the water disappeared. Can you guess why? That camel drank it all. Because that camel was real.
At least it was real to Benjamin Dilley. It may have been that tiny undiscovered drain that ate up all the water. Or it might have been the camel. Who’s to say? While I didn’t know it consciously at the time, as a child I felt like the book was telling me something. That sometimes children can see things adults don’t. That just because they might think you’re crazy, there’s a chance you’re not. That not fitting in with their reality might just be okay because you’ve got your own reality. And at least you’ve got friendly imagined animals to keep you company.
Was there a book like that for you? One that you loved as a child or teen? One that told you something you really needed to know?
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