The Story of Ferdinand
The gentle bull who prefers flowers to fighting.
I don’t remember ever reading The Story of Ferdinand as a child. The first time I laid eyes on this 1936 classic was at a book donation fair for New York City teachers. I was instantly charmed by Robert Lawson’s simple black and white illustrations and Munro Leaf’s tale of Ferdinand, the bull that doesn’t like to fight. I quickly added the hardcover book to my box of collected donations, excited to bring it back to my second graders. Ferdinand reminded me of one of my students during my first year of teaching. He too was expected to be tough and had the capability to charge into the classroom and command attention; however, he just wanted to sit on the carpet and turn the pages of National Geographic, mesmerized by the curiosities of the world. All of my students, including my own “Ferdinand” loved this tale of the Spanish bull that doesn’t want to fight and instead quietly sits down in the shade and smells the flowers. I’d like to think that they have held onto that image as a reminder to stay true to their character, and always make time to stop and take in the wonder around them.