'William's Doll PARENT AND CHILD

Story Time

July 01, 1998|By Charles Zolotow

Editor's note: A young boy's desire for a doll is met with taunts and distractions until his grandmother comes for a visit.

William wanted a doll.

He wanted to hug it

and cradle it in his arms

and give it a bottle

and take it to the park

and push it in the swing

and bring it back home

and undress it

and put it to bed

and pull down the shades

and kiss it goodnight

and watch its eyes close

and then

William wanted to wake it up

in the morning

when the sun came in

and start all over again

just as though he were its father

and it were his child.

"A doll!" said his brother.

"Don't be a creep!"

"Sissy, sissy, sissy!" said the boy next door.

"How would you like a basketball?"

his father said.

But William wanted a doll.

It would have blue eyes

and curly eyelashes

and a long white dress

and a bonnet

and when the eyes closed

they would make a little click

like the doll that belonged

to Nancy next door.

"Creepy" said his brother.

"Sissy sissy" chanted the boy next door.

And his father brought home

a smooth round basketball

and climbed up a ladder

and attached a net to the garage

and showed William

how to jump as he threw the ball

so that it went

through the net

and bounced down

into his arms again.

He practiced a lot

and got good at it

but it had nothing to do

with the doll.

William still wanted one.

One day

his grandmother came to visit.

William showed her

how he could throw the ball

through the net

attached to the garage outside.

He showed her the electric train

clacking along the tracks

through the tunnel

over the bridge

around the curve

until it came to a stop

in front of the station

William had made.

She was very interested

and they went for a walk together

and William said,

"but you know

what I really want

is a doll."

"Wonderful," said his grandmother.

"No," William said.

"My brother says

it will make me a creep

and the boy next door

says I'm a sissy

and my father

brings me

other things

instead."

"Nonsense," said his grandmother.

She went to the store and

chose a baby doll

with curly eyelashes

and a long white dress

and a bonnet.

The doll had blue eyes

and when they closed

they made a clicking sound

and William loved it

right away.

But his father was upset.

"He's a boy!" he said

to William's grandmother.

"He has a basketball

and an electric train

and a workbench

to build things with.

Why does he need a doll?"

William's grandmother smiled.

"He needs it," she said,

"to hug

and to cradle

and to take to the park

so that

when he's a father

like you,

he'll know how to

take care of his baby

and feed him

and love him

and bring him

the things he wants,

like a doll

so that he can

practice being

a father."

Text copyright 1972 by Charlotte Zolotow. Pictures copyright 1972 by William Pene Dubois. Used by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Pub Date: 7/01/98

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