The Story of Ferdinand
Author: Munro Leaf
Illustrator: Robert Lawson
Publication Date: January, 1936
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book
GoodReads Summary: 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. So what will happen when our pacifist hero is picked for the bullfights in Madrid? This new edition contains the complete original text of the story and the original illustrations with watercolor tones added.
What I Think: I absolutely love this book! I had no idea it was over 75 years old. I actually love it just a little bit more now. Believe it or not, I think the first time I read Ferdinand wasn't until after I saw the movie The Blind Side. That movie and Ferdinand tell the story of someone who is judged because of his size. Both make me think (again) about how easy it can be to judge people based on their looks. It's been 75 years since Ferdinand was first published but it's story is still relevant today...which makes me kind of sad but glad for the story at the same time. My husband and I wrote letters in the front and back pages of this book to give to Peanut for his first day of first grade. I especially love Ferdinand's mom in this book. I love that she gets him, she cares about him but when he assures her that he's okay, she's okay with that, too. Actually, I just realized that Ferdinand might be an introvert! I read Quiet by Susan Cain earlier this year and it was fascinating to me to learn more about introverts and that often society values extroverts. In this book, clearly, Ferdinand was expected to be loud and fierce and strong when he truly preferred to just spend time by himself. Ferdinand is a good reminder, especially to parents and teachers, that we need to honor and support people, especially students, with a preference towards introversion. I think this book makes a great mentor text for encouraging students to find a topic to write about because there are so many things they can talk about based on what they feel after reading Ferdinand's story.
Read Together: K - 6
Read Alone: K - 6
Read With: Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell, One by Kathryn Otoshi, Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick
Snatch of Text:
"His mother saw that he was
not lonesome, and because
she was an understanding
mother, even though she was
a cow, she let him just sit
there and be happy."Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections, Visualizing
Writing Strategies to Practice: Personal Narrative
Writing Prompts: Write about a time in your life when someone believed in you and supported you. How did it feel to know that that person supported you? Are there times when you prefer to spend time by yourself like Ferdinand or would you rather spend time with people?
Topics Covered: Identity, Family, Adversity
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