Book of the Week: The Story of Ferdinand

March 8, 2007

I have a thing for books that calm children, and this is another one.

First published in 1936 this book must be one of the most beloved children’s books ever. Ferdinand is a bull who has no interest in doing bullish things. He prefers to sit under his favorite tree and smell the flowers. And then one day he gets stung by a bee and finds himself at a bullfight in Madrid.

My kids respond immediately to this character that doesn’t mind doing his own thing. And they also think it’s wonderful to see and read a few bits about Spanish bull-fighting. This is an especially good book read aloud.

Apparently it’s been banned from time to time because of it’s overtly pacifist message, so you can feel a tiny bit rebellious by putting it on your bookshelf.

Written by Munro Leaf. Illustrated by Robert Lawson. Of course, it’s available here.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 love.boxes March 8, 2007 at 8:59 am

I love this book! It is a rare gem. One other bit of media that I think calms kids are the Kipper DVDs. Kipper has lovely manners and soon enough instead of screaming “MINE, MY TURN!!” … they are saying, “Might I have a go?”


2 Anne March 8, 2007 at 10:00 am

thanks so much! i had never heard of this book before but it looks wonderful and the story sounds great. so i ordered a copy! :)


3 Leslie March 8, 2007 at 10:32 am

oh how we love the story of ferdinand, or fredinand as my daughter has always called him. i always loved the illustration of the “ladies with flowers in their hair,” and now that’s my daughter’s favorite page, too. :)


4 Kris March 8, 2007 at 10:41 am

I loved this book when I was little. There was also a disney cartoon of Ferdinand.
‘he loved to just sit quietly and smell the flowers…’


5 Bess March 8, 2007 at 10:53 am

This is my favourite book of all time. I love the illustrations and I seriously get teary eyed reading it sometimes because it is so sweet.


6 Bek March 8, 2007 at 11:25 am

When my husband was little his family called him Ferdinand. In a family of type A spunky kids, he was very mellow. When he was in baseball, he just wanted to sit in the outfield and pick flowers…

They still call him that to this day…. I love this book!


7 Melanie Hess March 8, 2007 at 12:02 pm

I have a nephew who lives out in the country, and his family has livestock. He loves this book, so he named one their bulls Ferdinand. He is very proud of that animal.


8 scribbit March 8, 2007 at 12:58 pm

Not only is it one of my favorite books to read, it was my father’s favorite picture book when he was a child. A true classic. The Disney cartoon of it is a cute adaptation as well.


9 Design Mom March 8, 2007 at 2:08 pm

Ferdinand is the best. I’m so glad this book has so man diehard fans.


10 Oh, The Joys March 8, 2007 at 3:23 pm

I love this book – “She was a very understanding mother even though she was a cow.” Oh, it cracks me up!


11 Anonymous June 11, 2007 at 1:19 pm

This story is superb! It’s so great that the non-profit early literacy organization Jumpstart has decided to use it for their 2007 Read for the Record campaign. Pearson publishers has agreed to publish thousands of special edition copies to encourage people to donate them to low-income preschoolers. If you’re interested in reading more about it, you should go to And if you would like to brighten the day of a preschool child by donating to them a copy of this wonderful story, visit the read for the record bookdrive: RFTR bookdrive.

Thanks for your time! And I’m glad to hear so many adults enjoy reading this story to children!


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