The Story of Ferdinand

By Munro Leaf

Words from the achiever

“When I was about five, I read a book that still remains one of my favorites, and I give it to all of the little children in my family, and it’s Ferdinand the Bull. I love Ferdinand the Bull because Ferdinand didn’t look like the rest of the animals and therefore had to think highly of himself to sort of get on in life. I still think of that book, and every time I mention it somebody sends me another copy of Ferdinand the Bull. I give them away. One can only keep so many copies of the same children’s book, but that was a book that inspired me as a very young child. I know it isn’t probably the answer that one is expecting to say, “Oh no, it was the first time I read Much Ado About Nothing of Shakespeare,” or something. No, it was Ferdinand the Bull.”

About the book

One of the bestselling children’s books of all time, this simple story of peace and contentment has withstood the test of many generations. Ferdinand is a little bull who much prefers sitting quietly under a cork tree — just smelling the flowers –to jumping around, snorting, and butting heads with other bulls. This cow is no coward –he simply has his priorities clear. As Ferdinand grows big and strong, his temperament remains mellow, until the day he meets with the wrong end of a bee. In a show of bovine irony, the one day Ferdinand is most definitely not sitting quietly under the cork tree (due to a frightful sting), is the selfsame day that five men come to choose the “biggest, fastest, roughest bull” for the bullfights in Madrid. Ferdinand’s day in the arena gives readers not only an education in the historical tradition of bullfighting, but also a lesson in nonviolent tranquility.