William Pene du Bois
An attempt 'to overcome sex stereotypes in a small picture book that seems as much a lecture for rigid parents as a reassurance for nonconforming boys. When William asks for a doll the other boys call him creep and sissy and his father buys him a basketball and train and workbench instead -- but Grandmother, who understands, buys him a doll and explains to his father that William needs it to "hug and cradle. . . and feed and love. . . so that he can practice being a father." William Pene Du Bois' pictures complement the gentle mood while softly emphasizing that William is quite a hand with the basketball too -- and if you find Ms. Zolotow's tender affirmations substantial enough for girls, there's no reason to withhold them from little brother.