The Story of Ferdinand

Book review by
Susan Fitzgerald, Common Sense Media
The Story of Ferdinand Book Poster Image
Warmhearted, well-told classic will charm readers.

Parents say

age 4+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Introduces bullfighting, bullfighters' tools of their trade. Could spark a discussion of the pros and cons of bullfighting. 

Positive Messages

Choose your own path, despite what others may say or think. Respect others for who they are, and don't try to make them something they're not. Not everyone cares about acting tough and fighting. You can walk away from a fight. Being peaceful is a good thing. 


Positive Role Models & Representations

Ferdinand is comfortable being someone not interested in fighting. He dismisses the fight for his favorite pastime: sniffing flowers displayed in the hairdos of the "lovely ladies." 

Violence & Scariness

Illustrations show bulls fighting and a procession of bullfighters carrying the tools of their trade. The bullfighters brandish darts, long spears, and a sword to stick Ferdinand. 


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Story of Ferdinand is a warmhearted, charming story of a bull who prefers smelling flowers to fighting. Munro Leaf's gentle, timeless tale, coupled with Robert Lawson's expressive pen-and-ink drawings showing Ferdinand's sweet personality, have made Ferdinand a true classic. It's also available as a board book, and an animated feature film adaptation is slated for theatrical release in December 2017.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 10 and 10-year-old Written byEmi B. November 26, 2017

Classic! Substantive picturebook.

When it comes to children's books, why waste time on bathroom humor, rude labeling, and vacuous beauty? Ferdinand's beautifully illustrated story tea... Continue reading
Adult Written bylibrarygal May 12, 2011

Age 5+

A classic story.

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

Ferdinand is a bull who'd rather smell the flowers than fight. Despite the urgings of an enthusiastic group of banderilleros and picadors, and a hopelessly vain matador, Ferdinand chooses serenity over fierceness.

Is it any good?

This is a delightful story about a sweetly mannered bull who prefers peace to fighting, and the scent of flowers to the smell of victory. Munro Leaf's unforgettable words and Robert Lawson's simple pen-and-ink illustrations that show Ferdinand's soft-heartedness make this a true classic. The story shows readers that they must choose their own path, despite what others may say or think.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about bullfighting. What's its appeal? How does Ferdinand deal with the matador?

  • Why do you think The Story of Ferdinand is considered a classic? Why do you think kids have loved it for generations? 

  • Can you be a strong person even if you don't fight or act tough?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love picture books and animal stories

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