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The Story of Ferdinand

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4.35  ·  Rating Details  ·  64,097 Ratings  ·  1,068 Reviews
A true classic with a timeless message, The Story of Ferdinand has enchanted readers since it was first published in 1936. All the other bulls would run and jump and butt their heads together. But Ferdinand would rather sit and smell the flowers. And he does just that, until the day a bumblebee and some men from the Madrid bullfights give gentle Ferdinand a chance to be th ...more
Hardcover, 72 pages
Published January 1st 1936 by Viking
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Patrick
Dec 26, 2014 Patrick rated it it was amazing
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 b
...more
Brian Yahn
Jan 06, 2016 Brian Yahn rated it liked it
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 okay.

It'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 more to the story than that.
Brad
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 more 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 more.

I didn't find those memories in The
...more
Nikki
Sep 28, 2008 Nikki rated it it was amazing
This is, without a doubt, my absolute FAVORITE book from childhood. I remember my mother reading this to me as a small child, and having to fight back the tears, the story touched me so deeply. I found significance in the extreme simplicity of the words and illustrations. I was impressed with Ferdinand's gentle, yet strong, nature. He stood firm against the strongest pressures and remained constant. I like to analyze this book on many levels. On a side note (and dork moment): my husband holds th ...more
Kandace
Dec 03, 2013 Kandace rated it it was amazing
Shelves: latino-american
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 would rather smell flowers under his favorite cork tree. Ferdi
...more
A Bookworm Reading (Plethora)
I celebrated the Freedom to Read for the 2013 ALA Banned Book Week by reading this selection. Yes, it is a short children's picture book, but I was knee deep in other reads this year.

So why was this book banned you ask?

This book was originally published in 1936. Some saw the material as fascist, socialistic, pacifist or communistic. Munro Leaf, an American writer, had chosen to set this book in Spain. Well, history will tell us in 1936 the Spanish Civil War began a few months after publication
...more
Wanda
Apr 03, 2016 Wanda rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
3 APR 2016 - Love, Love, Love this book. As a little girl, I carried this book everywhere. I did not know at that time that Ferdinand was all about seizing his day and enjoying it in the way most suitable to himself. Such a smart bull!

As I re-read a newly purchased copy yesterday, I thought of this lovely poem:

Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May, by John William Waterhouse (Source: Wikipedia)

"To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time" is a poem written by English Cavalier poet Robert Herrick in the 17t
...more
midnightfaerie
Jul 01, 2013 midnightfaerie rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
My children really enjoyed this one. The pictures were clear and drawn well, all in black and white, and it made for a more easily understandable understanding of the story line. The story was cute, and since we got it from the library, it came in a packet with an actual stuffed Ferdinand which allowed me to use my "bull voice" and have him make comments about the story and added another dimension altogether to our book time that we hadn't considered up until now. The children all loved it. My o ...more
Krista Stevens
Mar 15, 2014 Krista Stevens rated it it was amazing
I had read it before - but revisited it recently. What I loved most this time is the controversy that swirled around the book - I had no idea. Lots of readers like this for the non-violence, peace choosing theme, but that message doesn't seem accurate. I like that Ferdinand chooses to do what he loves - he doesn't judge,criticize nor disparage the other bulls who want to fight- he just wants to smell flowers. The stronger message for me is to find what makes you happy and do that regardless of w ...more
Gloria
May 29, 2010 Gloria rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The best children's book-- ever.
Rosemary Sullivan
Dec 03, 2013 Rosemary Sullivan rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Phillip
Apr 06, 2012 Phillip rated it it was amazing
This book fascinated me when I was learning to read. I would read and reread it. I had a deep empathy for the bull, who found himself captive and with life in danger because of mistaken identification.

The story and pictures were interesting and left questions open to my young mind that caused me to gaze in with my eyes and imagination to try to see what was beyond the pages of the story and beyond what was shown in the illustrations.

I was raised in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. It was a nice mid-weste
...more
Vicky
Feb 20, 2012 Vicky rated it really liked it
I read this book as a small child and it fast became one of my favorites. So when I saw this in the bookstore the other day, I had to get it and share it with my son.

I loved the simplicity of it. Ferdinand is a bull, but he isn't a very fierce one. He's more of a nature lover than a fighter. I love that Ferdinand just wanted to be left alone to sit quietly under his favorite tree and smell the flowers. I think that's probably what I related to most as a child - just wanting to be left alone to
...more
u1124876 UEL
Sep 18, 2011 u1124876 UEL rated it really liked it
I first heard about The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf through the film The Blind Side (2009). Munro Leaf was an American author who wrote this book in 1936. It is the story of a bull named Ferdinand and his happy existence sitting quietly and smelling the flowers.

The book is illustrated in black and white by Robert Lawson and there is a picture, when Ferdinand is being taken to star in a bull fight in Madrid, of what looks like the bridge in Ronda. This book is charming and informative as th
...more
Sonia
Apr 13, 2015 Sonia rated it liked it
Shelves: tutoring-books
This story is about a peaceful bull who doesn't like acting like the other bulls his age. He likes being alone. He likes being calm and quiet. Unlike the other bulls who fight all day. I thought it t story was pretty cute.
Alison
Dec 28, 2007 Alison rated it it was amazing
Another of my childhood favorites. I LOVED this story. Imagine my surprise when, 20something years later, after being married to my husband for over a year he brings some of his childhood things home from his parent's house. His favorite book as a child-Ferdinand. I went to my Mom's house and got my copy out of a box and now we have both red battered copies next to each other on the bookshelf.
Jubilation Lee
A ridiculously sweet story about Ferdinand the Bull who, rather than fighting matadors, would rather sit in a field and smell flowers. You go, Ferdinand!
Peyton Jay
Nov 18, 2014 Peyton Jay rated it really liked it
This is a great children's book that shows person vs. self. Ferdinand is a fun and creative example of an someone who is gentle and kind, compared to the other bulls, and how he has to fight with himself about fitting in. This is a great story that gives a great lesson to children about finding yourself and not letting other people change you, and I think that is really important for others to learn, even as adults. This is not only a fun, timeless classic story that is great for children, but f ...more
Kiera Burnett
Dec 07, 2014 Kiera Burnett rated it really liked it
Summary and Critique:
Ferdinand is a peaceful bull. While the other bulls are out fighting, Ferdinand lays underneath the tree, smelling the flowers and watching the day go by. One day, men come to take the toughest bulls to Madrid to fight in the bull fights. Ferdinand sits on a bee and, because of his carrying on, the men take him off to Madrid to fight. Interestingly, this book has numerous political ties. As Ferdinand refuses to fight, it is viewed as a “pacifist book” and was banned in numer
...more
Melanie
Ferdinand the Bull is not like the other young bulls. He doesn't like to run, jump and butt heads with the other calves. He likes to sit under his favorite tree and smell the flowers. His mother doesn't mind as long as he's happy.

One day men show up to choose the fiercest, scariest, strongest bull to fight in the big bullfight in Madrid, Spain. All of the other bulls ran, jumped and charged to show the men how fierce and strong they were. But it is Ferdinand who is chosen after being stung by a
...more
Adina Cappell
May 05, 2012 Adina Cappell rated it really liked it
This is a book that celebrates the introverts among us. While Ferdinand's bull brethren wrestle each other, in hopes of being chosen to represent at the bullfights in Madrid, Ferdinand likes to just sit under the cork oak, and to observe the lovely flowers. Ferdinand's mom is worried about him, but she comes to realize that he isn't unhappy; he just rather enjoys spending a lot of time alone.
I do wish that Ferdinand had some friends, as his complete withdrawal from the world resembles schizoid
...more
Olivia Lavelle
Feb 03, 2012 Olivia Lavelle rated it it was amazing
The Story of Ferdinand was a vey enjoyable primary book. I really enjoyed reading the book for myself. I was surprised at how long the book was, because primary books are usually shorter. On the other hand, inside the cover page there was a picture of buildings and little children pointing and running towards the picture " EL TORO FEROCIO FERDINAND." I automatically thought this was going to be about this big fierce bull that was an outstanding bull fighter. When I read the book it took me by su ...more
Nelson Ganeshwaran
Oct 13, 2013 Nelson Ganeshwaran rated it really liked it
This is a fantastic book to read and children as well as adults will enjoy reading it. This book is not well known in the UK but it is well known in North America. Written in the year 1936 by an American author called Munro Leaf, it is about a bull who would rather smell flowers than fight in bullfights. When bulls are in a ring, they are expected to fight and be aggressive but Ferdinand will sit in the middle of the ring and refused to fight even when he was provoked by the matadors. Ferdinand ...more
Esdaile
This book brings back memories. It has a clear message of peace, this story of the bull who did not want to fight. It was one of my favourite tales when I was small. The message is "do not play their game". From the point of view of the traditional gathering of the forces of power and destruction, this work is subversive and I suspect it does a good job. Ferdinand is a delightful fellow. I cannot remember who gave me the book nor what happened to it, which makes me a little sad.
Jenn
Oct 19, 2009 Jenn rated it it was amazing
This is one of my all-time-fave books that I realized I hadn't put on my list of books! I memorized it in 4th grade when we were given an assignment to memorize a favorite book to read aloud to kindergarten students and I still love the phrase "liked to sit just quietly and smell the flowers." I think it describes my philosophy in life, really, and I just love Ferdinand. Now when I read the book, I can hear my mom's voice in my head - which is an awesome thing!
I also remember - fondly - a moment
...more
Kim Hampton
Jun 10, 2015 Kim Hampton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my favorite book when I was a little girl, and the one that I used to teach myself to read. It's a wonderful story about a bull named Ferdinand, who doesn't want to fight like all the other bulls. He just wants to sit and smell the flowers. But when he gets stung by a bee, suddenly the bullfighters think he's ferocious and pick him for the bullfights. What will happen? You'll have to read the story and find out!
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Story of Ferdinand, Munro Leaf
عنوان: اما فردیناند این کار را نکرد؛ مونرو لیف ؛ مترجم: طاهره آدینه پور ؛ ویراستار: مرتضی خسرونژاد؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، شرکت انتشارات علمی و فرهنگی؛ چاپ اول 1383، در 72 ص؛ مصور؛ شابک: 9644454790 ؛ موضوع: داستانهای حیوانات برای گروه سنی ب و ج قرن 20 م
Rachel
Nov 26, 2014 Rachel rated it really liked it
I'm sorry to say it, but Forrest is almost always bored by older picture books. They're generally a lot longer than modern picture books, and the illustrations aren't as eye-catching. He got bored by Ferdinand about halfway through, but I think it's darling.
Karen
Mar 07, 2015 Karen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jacob, ellie, mom, dad
Oh what a sweet bull! We love the story so much and have read it many times through out the years. Ellie's dog also likes to smell the flowers so she named him after this story....Tiny Ferdinand Ankle biter Blodgett.
Stacy Mar
Oct 11, 2015 Stacy Mar rated it really liked it
I read this to my daughter, we both enjoyed the timeless lesson of this book: that it's okay to 'just be.'

If you really want to analyze it, many a moral could be plucked from this gem of a classic.

Recommend!
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Munro Leaf, author and illustrator of dozens of children’s books, is best remembered for his signature character, Ferdinand, the Spanish bull who preferred smelling flowers to fighting in a ring in Spain. Composed in less than an hour one Sunday afternoon in 1935, the book sparked controversy. With the Spanish Civil War raging, political critics charged that it was a satirical attack on aggression ...more
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“And for all I know he is sitting there still, under his favorite cork tree, smelling the flowers just quietly” 14 likes
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