- Age Range: 3 - 5 years
- Grade Level: Preschool - Kindergarten
- Lexile Measure: 760 (What's this?)
- 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: 1,583 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #656 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Story of Ferdinand Paperback – March 31, 2011
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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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The result has the same relationship with the original as an orange peel has to an orange -- the color and shape remain, but all the juice has been squeezed out.
If you care at all about quality, find your kid a copy of the Viking edition instead. Borrow it from a library if you must. But stay far away from this edition unless-and-until the publisher fires the imbecile who decided to release this ersatz "classic" and brings back the original as it was meant to be read and enjoyed.
From what I've read, bullfighting is steeped in Hispanic identity in many parts of the world, considered more of a cultural event - a highly ritualized art form rather than a bloodsport. I must say that for me personally, though it's important to respect each culture's heritage, I would never have purchased a book about bullfighting - especially for our grandsons! But that is NOT what this book is about... as I read it, it is much more about resisting conforming to what's seen as the being the "norm" if it goes against who you are, regardless of what others say or do to provoke you or attempt to force you into submission. I'd read enough about the book to know that the majority of it centered around the peaceful nature of Ferdinand (only three pages reference what I consider the gruesome progression of torture a bull experiences in the ring - the Banderilleros with long sharp pins, the Picadores with long spears, and the Matador with his sword), with that innate peacefulness being what spares him.
This is certainly not a book most children these days will be used to, with its completely black and white illustrations, but - for the right age - a child who's ready to focus more on a story line versus needing lots of bright colors to hold his/her attention, the illustrations do a beautiful job of reflecting the gentleness of Ferdinand, who much prefers to "sit just quietly and smell the flowers" while the other bulls run and jump around, butting heads, and his wise mother who - though occasionally worried about him and what he may face by not conforming to the norm - understood that he was happy. When some men come to pick "the biggest, fastest, roughest bull" to fight in Madrid, Ferdinand accidentally sits on a bee, which of course stings him, and his resulting puffing, snorting, butting and pawing catches the eye of the men, who bring him to Madrid. But after entering the ring, Ferdinand simply runs to the middle of the ring and sits down, quite content to just enjoy the smell of the flowers in all of the female attendees' hair - most certainly not the type of bull they wanted for a fight, so they take Ferdinand back home... where "He is very happy."
My take from the book is that it's true message is the power of peace.
Delighted to discover this edition that features the original drawings by Robert Lawson (illustrator), I am not a friend of the new Disney animations that have every animal and character look the same, with big googley eyes. In contrast, Lawson's drawings shows mature animals. The details are charming.
It's a classic. While I am sure that Disney will offer their Disney version, I think all children should see the beautiful original.
Gisela Hausmann, author and blogger
Still, it's a classic and nice to have in your personal library.