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The Story of Ferdinand
The Story of Ferdinand
by Munro Leaf
Illustration by Robert Lawson

In Spain lives a big and strong bull whose name is Ferdinand. Unlike the other bulls, Ferdinand does not like to fight. He would rather sit in the shade of his favorite cork tree and smell the flowers.

Age: 4 Year-olds | Title: The Story of Ferdinand  |  Author: Munro Leaf  |  Publisher: Viking Books

In Spain lives a big and strong bull whose name is Ferdinand. Unlike the other bulls, Ferdinand does not like to fight. He would rather sit in the shade of his favorite cork tree and smell the flowers.

This enchanting story teaches children that it's okay to be yourself - even if it is not what others expect. This timeless tale about a large bull that would rather sit and smell the flowers than butt heads and fight has been entertaining readers of all ages for more than 50 years, and has been translated into more than 60 languages! The story is told by an anonymous narrator, whose whimsical words work very well with the pictures and encourages more than a few smirks and chuckles. The illustrations consist of detailed ink sketches cleverly balanced against white space. Every image on the page has a purpose, emphasizing the mood of the story. With just one to three sentences per page, the reader's intonations and the pictures are the heart and sole of the story.

Your little one will likely react to each page, whether they point and giggle at Ferdinand's silly expression while smelling the flowers, name the objects they recognize, or ask a question. They may want to know if a cork tree really grows cork, if bull fights still happen today, or where Madrid is. You can discuss the lessons in the book, including the message that 'things are not always as they seem.' For example, the people in Madrid were afraid of Ferdinand because of the way he looked; "They called him Ferdinand the Fierce and all the Banderilleros were afraid of him and the Picadores were afraid of him and the Matador was scared still." However, readers know that Ferdinand is a very kind and gentle bull.

My three year-old friend Sam thoroughly enjoyed the pictures. His favorite depicted the faces of the men from Madrid who came to Ferdinand's pasture to find the biggest, toughest bull. One of the men is wearing a cowboy hat and has a large mustache, which San pointed out as his favorite. (Sam wants to be a cowboy when he grows up). Sam also liked the extreme close up picture of a bumble bee - right before Ferdinand sat on it! Sam through this was quite funny.

--Audra

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.

The bright red hardcover book with simple illustrations had my daughters attention from beginning to end. This story has been around for a very long time and will continue to be a great classic in my opinion. Ferdinand would rather sit and smell the flowers than fight like the other bulls.

--Jody Arsenault, Mommy Moment

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