Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

William’s Doll

HarperCollins 2000. 32 pages
First published: 1972
ISBN: 9780064430678 (paperback)
9780060270476 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, point of view

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

All William really wants is a blue-eyed baby doll. But the male figures in his life don’t understand. His brother calls him a creep; the boy next door calls him a sissy. His father buys him typically-gendered toys like a basketball and an electric train. And even though William quite enjoys these things, he never stops wanting a doll “to hug and cradle and take to the park.” One day, he shares his wish with his grandmother, who understands and buys him a “baby doll with curly eyelashes and a long white dress.” She explains to William’s father that having a doll to play with will help him learn to be a good father.

First published in 1972, this tender read-aloud tackles a sensitive subject—gender stereotyping—with nuance, and reminds readers that a boy can be both masculine and nurturing. This positive, reassuring message is echoed in its gentle pastel illustrations set on plain white pages framed with a simple blue border, and it is sure to spark some important discussions and responses among readers.

  •  

    Discuss what you think of William’s desire to have a doll. What do you think of the grandmother's reasons for buying it for him?

  •  

    With a friend, generate a list of toys and decide if they teach you anything useful for when you are older (e.g. a toy wooden hammer for fixing things, a play kitchen for cooking).

  •  

    Write the thank-you letter that William could have written to his grandmother for giving him the doll.

  •  Draw a story map with the setting, characters, problem and solution.
  •  

    Discuss the story. Why does the grandmother think William should have his doll? Are certain toys just for girls or just for boys? What do you want to be when you grow up? Are certain jobs just for girls or just for boys?

  •  Write a card to the author thanking her for writing this book.
  • To construct his/her identity
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Ethics and Religious Culture