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

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. 

P.S. — Well-designed board books for toddlers.