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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 7 March 2006
Ferdinand is a bull unlike the others. He does not playfight; instead he sits beneath a cork tree and smells the flowers. As he grows into a huge muscular bull, his passions do not alter. When men come from Madrid to find the wildest bull, Ferdinand goes to sit beneath the tree again, while all other bulls try to prove that they are the fiercest. Unfortunately Ferdinand is stung by a bee and his antics convince the men he’s the perfect bull. So they take him to Madrid. If you want to know what happens then, you'll have to read the book.
This is a very straightforward and simple story of a gentle giant, but it is told (accompanied by the pictures) in a very funny way. There are no ‘frills’ or modern twists or turns to it. Ferdinand only does what he wants and wins out that way, also by being calm and not letting anybody distract him.
The illustrations add detail, in particular comic detail. For example it is only through the illustrations that the reader gets an idea of how Ferdinand rampages after being stung by the bee. Without them the story and the book would not be as memorable and funny as it is. The drawings –in their detail - also capture the spirit of Spain very well.
The story is about being yourself and finding your way and not letting others put you off. It also makes a case for sticking to your guns when unexpectedly in a situation you don’t want to be in.
A classic and must for everyone.
Go find a cork tree!
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 8 November 2003
I am so happy to see that this book has been reissued. I have a first edition copy, which I have been reading to my children, but it will be lovely for them to have a copy of their own. It is one of my favourite books from childhood. How can anyone not love a book which contains the line; 'Sometimes his mother, who was a cow, worried about him.'?
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 17 August 1999
When I was a little girl, I would request this book constantly. I never got sick of the story, and it has a valuable lesson of compassion, that just sinks in. I would reccomend it for any child.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 20 December 1997
I grew up reading this book over and over. Now my children are old enough to enjoy this heartwarming story that reinforces the importance of individuality. Basically, it showed me that it's ok to be different some times. I still read it when I feel life is like being in a bull ring and everyone is out to get me. It helps me find the tranquility within.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 23 May 2008
This children's picture book has stayed with us for 20 years now since it was given to our daughter by her grandma.
Somehow it seems like a small jewel in book form - so simple in its story, words and drawings it delivers a simple message to " be as you are!" And not to succumb to "what people say or think or what is "right" in the public eye...or what your peer group tries to indoctrinate - a valid thought to contemplate on.....This book is timeless....a real classic and a lovely 5 minute meditation also for adults! It always makes me smile when I read it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 23 March 1998
A lasting story. I now find myself describing my contemplative one year old..."he'd rather just sit and smell the flowers".
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 5 November 1998
This is a favorite of my youth that I now love to share with my 4-year-old son.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is one of a few books I've been desperate to share with my own son. One that brings back many happy childhood memories of my own, of bedtime stories, grandparent visits, those beautiful black and white drawings.

An absolute classic. A gentle hero, taken from his idllyic home to fight matadors but who refuses. Ferdinand merely wants to smell the flowers. His Spanish home however tries to make him into a fighter.

My son needed the concept of bullfighting and matadors explaining but he seemed to enjoy the tale. I loved reliving it with him.

The text is simple and easily manageable by a three-year-old. The ink drawings are quite detailed and show the size of thing s remarkably well (arenas, bees).

A tale that will never be irrelevant - fighting is not the answer, you can't change someone's nature, we must seek what makes us happy.

Worth adding to your child's library.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 14 February 2006
This is an enchanting and timeless tale, and is everything a children's book should be. The message is not simply one of peace and commitment to an ideal, but also one of basic karma, existentialist philosophy of choice and responsibility, and the need for all to follow the Golden Rule.
The Story of Ferdinand lets children know it is okay to stay true to their characters, and will encourage them to think their way out of situations, rather than muscle their way out. Ferdinand's peaceful and contented nature is something all human beings should all aspire to.
Having been stung by many bees in my youth, mainly while traipsing barefoot through clover and accidentally stepping on them, I have great sympathy for our hero and the situation he finds himself in. The realization that even small events and actions can have a tremendous impact on our lives, and everything else that surrounds us in this world, is beautifully presented in this story. How Ferdinand chooses to deal with his plight at being taken away to fight is, of course, the heart and significance of this tale. His choice of poetic action is a perfect lesson in morality and provides the lasting appeal for this book.
I recommend this classic for all ages and peoples, especially in our troubled times. It has a wonderful philosophy of life message; and even if readers choose not to apply the lesson to real life, the charming tale of Ferdinand is worth reading simply for its power to delight and entertain.
J.H. Sweet, author of The Fairy Chronicles
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 August 2011
'Ferdinand' is of course a children's classic and doesn't exactly require recommendation. It is an exceptionally beautiful book: Munro Leaf wrote the story for his friend, the illustrator Robert Lawson who produced a magnificent series of illustrations to accompany the well-crafted minimal narrative. I notice that some reviews below were concerned about the portrayal of animal cruelty but, in 1936 when the book was published, it provoked international controversy because of its perceived pacifist message. As a result 'Ferdinand' was banned in Franco's Spain and Nazi Germany (surely any book banned by those regimes has something going for it). My children like it and, if provokes discussions about the ethics of bullfighting, what's the problem with that?
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