Monday, June 27, 2016

The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf & Illus by Robert Lawson

Ferdinand the bull is a big deal. In 1938, two years after it was written, it was the best selling book in the United States, edging out Gone With the Wind. (Thanks wikipedia!) Hitler burned it. Gandhi loved it. In 1945 US soldiers handed out 30,000 copies to German children to promote peace.

It has been in continuous print since it was written 80 years ago.

Not bad for a book written in less than an hour as a favor for his friend, Robert Lawson who was looking for a book to illustrate. 

Ferdinand is an inspiration to us all. To not run around like crazy trying to impress everyone, but to be calm and enjoy life. And to smell the flowers. Always smell the summer flowers. 

I am going to assume that at some point in your life, some teacher or parent read you this book. 

We all know about the little bull who would rather sit and smell the flowers...

...than run around acting crazy like the other bulls.

In his flowers

Under the cork tree--his favorite spot to sit and smell the flowers.

His mother worried a little.

But after questioning him-- 

His mother saw that he was not lonesome and because she was an understanding mother, even though she was a cow, she let him just sit there and be happy.

Time went by and Ferdinand grew into a big, strong bull that liked to smell the flowers.

All the other bulls had hopes and aspirations to the bull ring.

One day, a group of buyers for the bull ring came to see the bulls. They look a lovely bunch don't they?

The bulls did their thing, showing off as best they could.

Ferdinand was unconcerned. There were flowers to smell.

Unfortunately, as he sat down in his favorite spot, he sat on a bee.

The bee sting pepped him up no end.

He rampaged around the field, impressing the buyers.

So Ferdinand was taken to the bullring. Where all the ladies had flowers in their hair.

The parade into the ring began.

The matador.

Everyone was petrified of the incredible Ferdinand. 

But as Ferdinand came into the ring, he smelled the ladies' flowers and sat down to contemplate them.

Nothing the matador could do would induce Ferdinand to fight.

So they sent him home. 

And for all I know he is sitting there still, under his favorite cork tree, smelling the flowers just quietly. 

He is very happy. 

I love Ferdinand.

 I hope there is some sitting around smelling the flowers in your summer! 


  1. Hahaha! Okay, I just wrapped a Shakespeare in the park production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, as Snug the Joiner. Snug plays the Lion in the Pyramus & Thisbe play-within-a-play. I decided Snug was too peaceful to play a lion, and every time I ran "offstage" after roaring, I'd lie down and pick clovers or flowers or whatever was growing in that particular park. In my head, I felt I was totally channeling Ferdinand the Bull. I love this book so much!!!

  2. Haha! That is awesome! Combining Shakespeare with Ferdinand is genius! And I think it would do everyone good if they channeled Ferdinand the bull. Reading it over this time, I was thinking #summergoals. Must do more laying down to smell the flowers. :-)