The Story Of Ferdinand

To quote Wikipedia: “The Story of Ferdinand (1936) is the best known work written by American author Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson.”
In several ways, it was really ahead of its time. A fair amount was made of perceived political undertones at the time of publishing, but to me, the really progressive aspects are the positive role model of a main character who cannot be cajoled into senseless fighting and has no drive to defend against threats to his masculinity, contrasting against a vain, silly matador who should (under traditional structures) be the hero of the story but instead is shown with some considerable pathos.

The artwork is timeless and gorgeous. The story is simple. The message is sweet. The main character can be identified with by boys and girls, particularly by introverts (who don’t tend to get so many “that’s me, that is” heroes in stories). I grew up on the fragile copy handed down by my father. For my own children (when I one day have some), I will procure a fresh copy that is fully attached to its cover. I hope they’ll love it.


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