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William's Doll



Last updated Friday, July 22, 2005

Author: Charlotte Zolotow
Illustrator: William Pene du Bois
Date of Publication: 1972
ISBN: 0060270470
Grade Level: Kindergarten    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Aug. 2005

Synopsis: William is a boy who wants a doll. He wants to play with it and hug it. He wants to tuck it into bed at night and wake it up in the morning and pretend that it's his own child. Needless to say, this plan is met with not a little bit of derision by his peers. His brother thinks it's creepy and the boy next door even goes so far as to call William a sissy. As for William's father, he decides to stem the boy's desires by purchasing manly toys for him. Basketballs, and trains, and tools. The only one who understands William is his grandmother, a wise woman who gives William his heart's desire and patiently explains to his father that there is nothing odd or abnormal about a boy wanting a doll.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What are your favorite toys? How many of you have a doll?
•  Do you have a doll? Do you think both boys and girls can have toy dolls?
•  Are there toys that only boys can play with?
•  What fun games do you play?
•  Can you learn from playing with dolls? Playing with trucks?
•  What is a toy that you would want? Why? Is there something that your parents won?t let you have? Why?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What toy did William get?
•  Why did William want a doll?
•  What other toys did William play with?
•  Do you think William?s grandmother should have bought him the doll? Why?
•  Have you all played ?House? with a doll before?
•  Do you have any pretend toys?
•  Why is it normal that William would want to have a doll?
•  Why do you think that William?s father kept buying him other things besides a doll?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw a picture of you with your favorite toy - cut it out and make a button
•  Cut out a doll (nothing fancy, kind of like a gingerbread man) for the children. Decorate it. Does it have brown eyes? Green eyes? What kind of hair does it have? You can even cut out little clothes to put on the doll.
•  Make finger puppet dolls/ paper bag dolls.

Special activities:
•  Crumple a piece of paper to be a basket ball, and line up to try to ?make a basket.? Move the line farther and farther back. Perhaps make it a game where, in order to be able to throw the ?ball,? they have to answer a question like ?name a color? or ?what is your favorite toy?.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!