Ferdinand is not like any other calf in the entire herd. The other little bulls like to dash about and butt heads. But Ferdinand, bull that he is, likes to sit under a cork tree and smell the flowers. All the other bulls, as they grow older, hope to be chosen as the biggest, fiercest bull in Spain – worthy to compete in the bull fights in Madrid. But not Ferdinand. He knows he is not strong or fierce. He prefers to take naps.
But when he accidentally sits on a bumblebee and subsequently goes charging across the fields like a bull gone berserk, Ferdinand is mistakenly thought to be the fiercest bull and is chosen to fight! What will happen when Ferdinand is led out before all of the beautiful Spanish ladies and brave caballeros to fight in Madrid?
Just lovely. The Story of Ferdinand is so wonderfully whimsical – it is the tale of a kindly, flower-smelling bull who, though raised in Spain, has no wish to participate in the prestigious bull fights.
I got a bit worried when Ferdinand was carted off to the fights. After all, the bull fights of Spain are not pretty or refined. But Munro Leaf treats them, like all else, whimsically. The Banderilleros parade into the arena armed with sharp pins to make the bull mad and are followed by the Picadores who have long spears to make the bull madder. Lastly comes the Matador, proudest and handsomest of all, who has a sword to make Ferdinand maddest of all.
And then comes Ferdinand. But rather than jump or charge, or allow himself to get angry, Ferdinand just sits down right in the middle of the ring and smells all the lovely flowers the lovely Spanish ladies are wearing. He refuses to get mad, and, in the end, is returned to his field and cork tree.
As always, Robert Lawson’s illustrations enhance their accompanying stories.
Conclusion. A darling story. The perfect read-aloud.
Review © 2014 Laura Verret