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The Story of Ferdinand

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4.35 of 5 stars 4.35  ·  rating details  ·  55,281 ratings  ·  939 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
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
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
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
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
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
midnightfaerie
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
Gloria
The best children's book-- ever.
Phillip
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
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
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
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
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.
Monica!
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!
Krista Stevens
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
Peyton Jay
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
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
Rosemary
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
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
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
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
Rachel
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
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.
Michelle
This is one of my all time favorite children's classic story books. Use in the classroom to go with tolerance lesson plans; illustrates uniqueness. Gorgeous illustrations by Robert Lawson.
Michelle
I am giving this children's book such a low rating not for the story itself, but how it came into my life.
My son just started school this year, he just turned six years old, and is in kindergarten.
Every week, they send a kindergartener home with a bag with a theme, last week was gardening, this week was "understanding differences".
Now, after some googling I realize this book is quite an old tale, and should be treated as such.
But I do not, and did not want my kindergartener reading about bull fi
...more
Joseph  Naus
it doesn't get any better than this. whether your five or 105, you'll love this little gem.
David
I'd forgotten exactly how gay little Ferdinand is. No wonder I've always loved this book!
Courtney
SO charming!!! I love this book :) One of my newfound favorites
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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” 13 likes
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