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The Story of Ferdinand Paperback – March 31, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

What else can be said about the fabulous Ferdinand? Published more than 50 years ago (and one of the bestselling children's books of all time), this simple story of peace and contentment has withstood the test of many generations. Ferdinand is a little bull who much prefers sitting quietly under a cork tree-- just smelling the flowers--to jumping around, snorting, and butting heads with other bulls. This cow is no coward--he simply has his pacifist priorities clear. As Ferdinand grows big and strong, his temperament remains mellow, until the day he meets with the wrong end of a bee. In a show of bovine irony, the one day Ferdinand is most definitely not sitting quietly under the cork tree (due to a frightful sting), is the selfsame day that five men come to choose the "biggest, fastest, roughest bull" for the bullfights in Madrid.

Ferdinand's day in the arena gives readers not only an education in the historical tradition of bullfighting, but also a lesson in nonviolent tranquility. Robert Lawson's black-and-white drawings are evocative and detailed, with especially sweet renditions of Ferdinand, the serene bull hero. The Story of Ferdinand closes with one of the happiest endings in the history of happy endings--readers of all ages will drift off to a peaceful sleep, dreaming of sweet-smelling flowers and contented cows. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Wilbur Monroe Leaf (aka Munro Leaf) (1905–1976) is an American author of children's literature who wrote and illustrated many books during his long career. His books were illustrated by a number of famous artists, including  Ludwig Bemelmans, Robert Lawson, and Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss). He is best known for The Story of Ferdinand (1936).
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 5 years
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap; 1 edition (March 31, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044845694X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0448456942
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (712 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #130 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Munro Leaf is best known for the Story of Ferdinand, first published in 1936 and a bestseller ever since. He died in 1976 at the age of 71.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

299 of 304 people found the following review helpful By slomamma on September 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is more than sixty years old. I remember hearing it as a small child in the early sixties, and even then it sounded strangely old-fashioned to me, as if it came from some sweet, gentle world that had not existed for a long time. But as a child I passionately loved that world, and this book that evoked its gentleness, and years later, when I found out I was pregnant, the first thing I bought for my son was not a blanket or a crib or a stuffed animal, but a copy of Ferdinand. It was the thing I loved most from my own childhood. Seventeen years later, I still think my priorities were right. And that seventeen year old has a six year old sister, so the book is still in use.
Ferdinand has been around so long, I assume everybody knows the story, but in case you don't, here goes: Ferdinand is a gentle little bull in Spain. The other little bulls love to fight and dream of being chosen for the bullfights in Madrid. But by mistake, Ferdinand is sent to fight. The only problem is, he will not fight.. They lead him into the bullring, but he just sits there, smelling the flowers in the women's hair, and in the end there is nothing the matadors can do but take him home.
I suppose people have been reading this book to children for more than sixty years in part because of its pacifist message. In essence, Ferdinand is the one who would not come when they gave a war. But for me that is just a small part of its appeal.
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74 of 75 people found the following review helpful By JLind555 on November 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover
"Ferdinand" is one of the best-loved children's books of all time, and with good reason. This timeless tale of a little bull in Spain who doesn't mind being different from the rest of the herd strikes an instant chord in youngsters and oldsters alike. Ferdinand is a gentle creature who would rather sit around and smell the flowers than butt his way through life; but when he planks himself down one day on a bumblebee, he gets a jolt that propels him into the bullring in Madrid. The story is funny and endearing, and the illustrations are hilarious. Generations of preschoolers have loved this book, and it looks good for generations to come.
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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
My mother-in-law gave me her copy of this book (printed in 1938) when my oldest child was 4 or 5 years old and we just adored this story! In fact, she (my daughter) loved it so much she memorized it within months. I chose this book to read to her 2nd grade class and they, too, felt the magic of how the fierce bull loved to just sit and "smell the flowers"! I just sat down tonight to read it for the first time to my youngest child (5 years old) and he already knew how the story went. I asked him how he knew it and if his sister already read it to him, because I had not yet done so. He told me that nobody read it to him, that his sister (now 11 years old) already told him about it. He went on to explain every page to me before I even read it! Maybe it's because it's such a different subject for a children's book ( a bull, a tree, a bee and oh, those flowers!) or it could be because we don't have a great deal of access to bull fighting here in America...none the less, it's a story that stays with you, if only because of it's simplicity. Kind of refreshing.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on April 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I love Robert Lawson and I love Munroe Leaf, but ladies and gentlemen these two men are definitely less great unless paired together. In undoubtedly my favorite children's book from the 1930s (so sorry, "They Were Strong and Brave"), these two titans of the picture book world created the most adorable story to have ever involved cork trees, bulls, and sweet smelling flowers.
Ferdinand is none too different from "The Reluctant Dragon". He may look fierce and strong, but underneath that hard exterior lies a bull that is perfectly content to just sit beneath his favorite cork tree and smell the flowers all day. Ferdinand was gentle even when young, and he has no desire to go needlessly ramming his head with the other bulls in the field. When some wonderfully illustrated men arrive to find a bull worthy of their bull-fighting arena, Ferdinand is accidentally selected as their choice. Once in the arena, however, Ferdinand proceeds to humiliate the matador and his cronies through simple peace-loving flower-smelling. In the end, Ferdinand is returned to his cork tree and the world is as it was.
There's a definite pacifist feel behind the old Ferdinand tale. In what other story will you have a creature not fight back despite all provocations, only to win in the end? Moreover, a male character that prefers pretty sights and smells to violence and uber-masculinity. Lawson's pen and ink drawings expertly compliment Leaf's tale. Through them we see the high balconies of Spanish towns, and the serene fields where little bulls may play. I was especially amused by the cork tree, from which actual wine corks hang. I suspect many a child has subsequently believed for years that corks really do grow on the vine as Lawson displayed them. Lawson isn't above other humorous tweaking beyond that.
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