The Story of Ferdinand

Warmhearted, well-told tale will charm readers.

What parents need to know

Violence & scariness

Drawings of bulls fighting and a procession of bullfighters carrying the tools of their trade.

Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this warmhearted, well-told tale, supported by pen-and-ink illustrations that show Ferdinand's sweet personality, will charm readers.

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

Ferdinand is a bull who would 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. Munro Leaf's timeless story, coupled with Robert Lawson's expressive pen-and-ink drawings, have made Ferdinand a true classic.

Is it any good?


THE STORY OF FERDINAND has been around for more than half a century for a reason: It's the story of a sweetly mannered bull who prefers peace to fighting, and the scent of flowers over the smell of victory. Munro Leaf's unforgettable words and Robert Lawson's ability to reveal, with simple pen-and-ink strokes, Ferdinand's soft-heartedness make this story a classic.

One 5-year-old reader was disturbed when the bullfighters brandished darts, long spears, and a sword to stick Ferdinand and made him "mad and madder." But he quickly found a smile when Ferdinand dismissed the fight for his favorite pastime -- sniffing flowers displayed in the hairdos of the "lovely ladies." The story shows readers that they must choose their own path, despite what others may say or think.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about bullfighting and pacifism. What is the appeal of bullfighting? How does Ferdinand deal with the matador?

Book details

Author:Munro Leaf
Illustrator:Robert Lawson
Genre:Picture Book
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Penguin Group
Publication date:January 1, 1936
Number of pages:68

This review of The Story of Ferdinand was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent of a 4 and 6 year old Written byLaurie_Hapton13 October 29, 2010
age 4+

This to to "Yo, I went poopin the the potty"

Umm yes, hi. My name is Laurie. I also happen to have a 6 year old son and 4 year old daughter...what I wanted to say was...well, i think you're a little to tough on them- They're just kids! They want to have fun, have the freedom to read and watch what they want. I'm not saying you should let them go crazy, but lighten up!!!
Parent of a 4 and 6 year old Written bySuperMommy12 September 5, 2010
age 6+

"Yo, I went "poopin' IN THE POTTY"

My 6 year old son loves this book but i found it quite inapropreate for my 4 year old daughter. She told her preschool teachers about the page were Ferdinand's tushy was up close. Also, it is very violent when the bulls stick eachother with there horns. Although my son can handle this violent criteria. He has become very rude to the nanny lately and instead of saying "I went to the restroom" he said 'Yo, I went "poopin" in the potty" . I do not know were he got this inapropreate language but i think it is from Music Televsion, a strange show has been watching, umm, Jersey Shore, I think it is. I think it may be about the lovely beauty of the New Jershey shores, but I guess my son is getting othe messages from it. In conclusion, this book is GOOD, and appropreate for 6 year olds.
What other families should know
Educational value
Adult Written bylibrarygal May 12, 2011
age 5+

Age 5+

A classic story.
What other families should know
Great messages


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass