26 January, 2022

LitStack Recs: The Death of the Heart & The Story of Ferdinand the Bull

The Story of Ferdinand the Bull by Munroe Leaf,
Illustrated by Robert Lawson

Sometimes, the simplest things are the best. And the most sorely needed.

The Story of Ferdinand the Bull was one of my favorites when I was a child.  It also was one of my favorites to read to my own children, and they loved listening to it.

This slim little book, written in 1936, is geared for children under 10 years of age.  It’s a simple story with a simple lesson.  The illustrations are black and white line drawings.  But it is truly a story that transcends age, touching readers both young and old.
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Ferdinand is a young bull who lives in a pasture in Spain.  While all the other young bulls love to run around and be fierce and butt their heads, Ferdinand would rather just sit under the cork tree and smell the flowers.  An ill-timed bee sting (“Ow!  Did it hurt!”) has Ferdinand being shipped to the bull fights in Madrid – and what happens there is sweet and wonderful.
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In this day and age, when it seems like life is so complicated, whether it be the ugly state of the country, the state of the environment, the state of the world or family life or health, or even just the state of being, you owe it to yourself to stop and enjoy something simple.  Something lovely.  Something sweet.  And for a few minutes, for a few pages, you can join with Ferdinand the Bull, and just sit quietly, smelling the flowers.
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It will be time very well spent.

—Sharon Browning

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