another one of my favorite childhood books is the best-loved doll by rebecca caudill. i tried taking photos of the cover of my copy, but it is so faded and torn that the photos were terrible. my version has a pink cover, which i think may be the original cover from the early 1960s.
it's the story of a little girl who is invited to a birthday party where each child is invited to bring a doll and prizes will be awarded for categories such as "best-dressed" and "oldest" doll. the main girl decides that she will bring her favorite doll, one that is not particularly old yet has matted hair and and patched cheeks from constant play.
i love to go back and re-read the books i loved as a child. even though i read these books hundreds of times, i always notice details i didn't as a girl (like the simple smiley faces on the girls).
i like that i was exposed to both traditional girly influences along with '70s progressive influences such as the free to be you and me record, where it's the boys playing with dolls and the girls who want to be athletes and firefighters. (can anyone else still sing every song from this album?) it's interesting how when reading the best-loved doll i never thought to myself, "wow! this book is really girly!" and yet i do remember thinking after listening to the song "william's doll" that it shouldn't be a big deal for william's parents to buy him a doll, even if he defies the lyrics of the song and decides not to be a father.