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Ador and his helpers do they cannot get Ferdinand to fight Lawson's memorable black and white pictures speak volumes in this childhood classi. Re read solely because I m getting fed up that a reading challenge is hanging about with a few incomplete categories and everything I truly want to read in the banned books category is either long or very dense and would take a while Instead I dispatched it in ten minutes by re reading this Plus I thought Ferdinand 1936 might be interesting three months after reading Hemingway s The Sun Also Rises 1926 There wasn t uite as much comparison fodder as I thought there might be as Ferdinand is so short and simple a story Although whilst Hemingway s is very much pro bullfighting and Leaf obviously against it both books are about not being the sort of manly mancreature that the world expects Jake in The Sun Also Rises uses being a bullfighting aficionado as a way to express masculinity that in some other ways is thwarted and to get respect from other men It seems obvious that Munro Leaf must have read Hemingway s novel Ferdinand refuses to be used to bolster the masculinity of human males like Jake just as the WWI pacifist or conscientious objector refused to fight in an imperialist war engineered by politicians and is confident being his idiosyncratic flower loving self After all it s been his personality his whole life so he s just being himself whereas Jake has been thwarted by a war injury and can t be himself as he was once used to And because this is a book for small children Ferdinand is of course rewarded for being the way he is and wants to be The book s pacifism seems to be closest to that of the First World War seen by objectors as a senseless war fought for those in power I think it s important to be aware that Ferdinand was published shortly before the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War Among international left wing intellectuals the Spanish Civil War was seen as an unusually pure moral cause and especially compared with WWI a cause worth fighting for including by those who objected to other wars So for an audience of pacifists the context of 1930s Spain wouldn t be the best fit for a parable However one can imagine it finding favour with a mainstream Anglo audience including those who thought young people shouldn t go to fight in Spain Pacifism was also complicated in the Second World War with arguments by some who d have been pacifists for other wars that the Nazi regime and so as its atrocities were revealed should also be fought I already knew that revisiting books I read as a teenager ends up being about reviewing my past self at least as much as the book I hadn t expected that would be the case for something I read and found boring when I was about seven And boy did I find this boring I d heard it talked up but hadn t read it because I thought it looked boring and with so many pictures and so few words it was clearly a book for a lower reading level The I think about being that age the obvious it seems now that I was on the spectrum and Ferdinand was a book that particularly irked my smart arse literal minded self The same part of me that was getting exasperated aged three when all the adults kept insisting that Santa was real Obviously add your finest first year Hermione actually voice calves don t think about wanting to be fighting bulls when they grow up they just stand around and eat grass and sense what s around them and exist and obviously an unwanted bullfighting bull probably wouldn t get sent back to the farm Unless it was like one of those donkey sanctuaries that sometimes had adverts in the TV Times And that was pretty much all I cared about The Story of Ferdinand as a kid When I look at this story now though I think of people I ve known in the years since who must have been a Ferdinand type among their peers especially if they were boys who weren t into sports and that makes me like the character of Ferdinand uite a lot There s certainly something here about having gender atypical interests and temperament especially for boys As a fairly aggressive girl who d been moved to a girls school and was missing the opportunity to fight boys or to have fights as a part of playground culture in general it wasn t going to strike a chord with me at the age I read it My child self in this book is the matador who cried because he didn t get to show offThe mother supporting Ferdinand to be the way he is seems advanced for 1936 so no wonder the book has maintained its popularity Though the clause even though she was a cow reads oddly as it either sounds rude or it breaks the suspension of disbelief about the extent to which the calves think This book is interesting for having read stories especially the Hemingway as above and also about the cow that wants to be eaten in Douglas Adams The Restaurant at the End of the Universe the comedy SF incarnation of a philosophical problem Possibly the literary descendant of Ferdinand s peers but something that to me was instantly interesting as a teenager in the way Leaf s story hadn t been half a short lifetime earlierTo a snobbish seven year old with a higher reading age illustrations in a book mostly meant babyish at least in those days before graphic novels for kids were a big thing So I wouldn t have looked very carefully at them Also I needed glasses but didn t know it Now having been reading a lot of comics I m very impressed with the detail and artistry in these drawings I especially liked the way they suddenly shifted from sweet into comedy cartoon mode when Ferdinand was stung by the bumblebee And the array of hats worn by the men who arrived to select fighting bulls now it harks me back to Richard Scarry s illustrations denoting different countries and the clearly delineated categories of things like that which used to be used in kids books there s a cowboy hat a uaker hat something a lot like a Russian ushanka and a Bolivian style bowler hat here worn by a man they are women s costume in Bolivia plus a fifth I frustratingly can t place Costume wise they also put a lot of detail into the bullfighters costumes and I was surprised to see three different bullfighting roles named in Spanish and their roles and weapons described with enough information to make it clear they would cause pain and damage although certainly not what I d call graphically I had expected to be concluding this review with something like it s yet another reason I m glad I don t have kids so I don t have to put up with simplistic message driven stories like this all the time though I still think that s the case about a lot of newer children s books I hear about on GR But by putting it in the context of other books and people I ve met since I left school it becomes rather interesting at least for one re read So instead I m thinking that I would say to a kid similar to I was if they mentioned they disliked the story for the same reasons I did my answer would be No they don t really you re right about that but it s clever to know that and notice how they use something unrealistic to create a message And talk about the historical context about the world wars and pacifism No wonder I took to editions with notes and introductions as soon as I found them I d needed them for years earlier I don t think it even registered the book was as old as it was until I was on GR I just used to assume everything with illustrations like that was 1950s or 1960s But I would definitely support the stop pretending about Santa thing that no one backed me up on as a kid And even so rejection of the modern addition that many parents for unfathomable reasons both loathe and practise the Elf on the Shelf I would be proud of a smug little Dawkinsesue kid pontificating to the rest of the class about how it was made up and silly

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The Story of Ferdinand

Ferdinand the peaceful bull who loves to sit and smell flowers is mistakenly carted off to a bullfight in Madrid where he is believed to be t. I m not an impartial judge of this book I m assuming all of you know the story It s about a bull that doesn t want to bullfight like the other bulls He just wants to sit and smell flowers in the field My mom used to read it to me when I was a kid She used to call me her little Ferdinand because all the other little boys wanted to run around and roughhouse And I didn t I just wanted to sit and read and think I m not an impartial judge of this book But I m fond of it And when a book s been around for 70 years there s usually a reason for it

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He fiercest bull around Ferdinand trots into the ring only to sit and smell the flowers in the ladies' hair No matter what the frustrated mat. Many of the kids books I ve been revisiting are filled with specific vivid memories of my childhood that are almost narratives unto themselves Reading them transports me back to those probably apocryphal moments in my brain leaving me full of a sort of joyful melancholy for things past and a hunger for of those memories a desire to relive all those locked up personal stories so I grab another book I have always loved and devour it looking for I didn t find those memories in The Story of Ferdinand but I may have found something precious I found that this story with its beautiful illustrations and its little bull turned big bull who just wants to live peacefully and smell his flowers made me think about people I care about rather than remembering some synapsy tale of themIt made me think of my mother Chris I always called her Chris which drove my father crazy because of how disrespectful it was I thought of Chris and guessed that she probably read this book to me first And I thought of how every book I touch and word I write is her gift to me for teaching me too read then teaching me to challenge myself with books that were inappropriate then sharing our reading when we were older It made me think of my cousin Fred who I called Ferdinand behind his back I thought of his moustache and 80s hair I thought of how we both had brutally abusive fathers but have never talked about it even now so many years after escaping their fists It made me think of KI Hope and how the anger of her writing that wonderful necessary emotional ethical rage would cringe at the other bulls Ferdinand s friends and family showing off in the hopes of travelling to Madrid to be slaughtered in the bullfights I thought of what a true friend she is and how unlikely it is to find a genuine friend on something like this social media platform and how I have found so manyIt made me think of Bront and Milo and Scoutie and how much they love The Story of Ferdinand and how Milo is always trying to mimic the light Spanish accent I use to read them the book aloud and how Bront loves the art and how Scoutie babbles the story back to me with her incomprehensible toddler language punctuated by a Ferdie and or cowAnd it made me think of Munroe Leaf She and all the other authors I ve had a relationship over my life They have been my best friends And each book that I love it s a gift written by them just for me Thanks Munroe I love you too


10 thoughts on “The Story of Ferdinand

  1. says:

    I'm not an impartial judge of this book I'm assuming all of you know the story It's about a bull that doesn't want to bullfight like the other bulls He just wants to sit and smell flowers in the field My mom used to read it to me when I was a kid She used to call me her little Ferdinand because all the other lit

  2. says:

    The Story of Ferdinand Munro LeafThe Story of Ferdinand 1936 is the best known work written by American author Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson The children's book tells the story of a bull who would rather smell flowers than fight in bullfights He sits in the middle of the bull ring failing to take

  3. says:

    Lovely lovely book Sweet story plus bonus magical illustrations of romanticized Spain of yore to delight all

  4. says:

    I enjoyed this book on several levels a wonderful book about being yourself for children but also a subconscious commentary on fascist Spain a bull with a big heart picked to be slaughtered at the Blood Wedding of Franco and fed to his guests my interpretation

  5. says:

    The mood and tone of this story are both spot on And even though Ferdinand is easy to love and even though the beginning is cute and entrancing overall the story is just pretty okayIt's about a bull who doesn't want to fight like all the others because he'd rather just relax and smell flowers Can you blame him? No But there's really not much to the story than that

  6. says:

    Many of the kids books I've been revisiting are filled with specific vivid memories of my childhood that are almost narratives unto themselves R

  7. says:

    This is the story of Ferdinand a little bull who would rather sit and smell flowers than fight in the bullring This book truly is a gem While I had heard about this work before this is the first time that I have read it and I absolutely love it Originally published in 1936 this work has been translated into than 60 lang

  8. says:

    It could be said this has been on my TBR list since childhood I don't remember reading it then and don't remember reading it to my daughter Although I've known the story of the little bull with a gentle heart who turned into a big bull with a gentle heart for uite some time I'd never picked up a copy until now Lovely little story which sho

  9. says:

    Re read solely because I'm getting fed up that a reading challenge is hanging about with a few incomplete categories and everything I truly want to read in the 'banned books' category is either long or very dense and would take a while Instead I dispatched it in ten minutes by re reading this Plus I thought Ferdinand 1936 might be

  10. says:

    I was always curious why my school library had multiple copies of The Story of Ferdinand Until now Upon scanning some of the other reviews I feel left out because Ferdinand was not part of my collection growing up I was blown away by the simple story of a gentle bull named Ferdinand content with his life in the Spanish countryside When it is time to choose a strong and tough bull to fight in Madrid Ferdinand does not care and w