The Story of Ferdinand illustrated by Robert Lawson

Today's vintage children's book, Ferdinand, is a redo from 2010. My scanner was not working properly at the time and threw a pink cast on every page. This post has all new scans and most of the illustrations from the book, plus the story itself, which is very entertaining. I kept the text in it's original format so not to lose the rhythm of the story.

"There was a little bull and his name was Ferdinand."

"All the other little bulls he 
lived with would run and jump
 and butt their heads together."

"But Not Ferdinand."

"He liked to sit just quietly and smell the flowers."

"He had a favorite spot out in the pasture under a cork tree."

"It was his favorite tree and he would sit in its shade all day..."

"Sometimes his mother, who
 was a cow, would worry about
 him. She was afraid he would
 be lonesome all by himself."

"Why don't you run and play
with the other little bulls and
skip and butt your head?" she 
would say."

"But Ferdinand would shake
his head. "I like it better here
where I can sit just quietly and
smell the flowers."

"His mother saw that he was
not lonesome, and because
she was an understanding
mother, even though she was
a cow, she let him just sit 
there and be happy."

"As the years went by Ferdinand
grew and grew until he was
very big and strong."

"All the other bulls who had
grown up with him in the same
pasture would fight each other
all day. They would butt each
other and stick each other with
their horns. What they wanted
most of all was to be picked 
to fight at the bull fights in 

"One day five men came in very
funny hats to pick the biggest,
fastest, roughest bull to fight
in the bull fights in Madrid."

"All the other bulls ran around
snorting and butting, leaping
and jumping so the men would
think that they were very very
strong and fierce and pick them."

"Ferdinand knew that they
wouldn't pick him and he
didn't care. So he went out
to his favorite cork tree to 
sit down."

"He didn't look where he was
sitting and instead of sitting
on the nice cool grass in the
shade he sat on a bumble bee."

"Well, if you were a bumble
bee and a bull sat on you what
would you do? You would
sting him. And that is just what
this bee did to Ferdinand."

"Wow! Did it hurt! Ferdinand
jumped up with a snort. He
ran around puffing and snorting,
butting and pawing the ground
as if he were crazy."

"The five men saw him and they
all shouted with joy. Here was
the largest and fiercest bull of
all. Just the one for the bull
fights in Madrid!"

"So they took him away for the
bull fight day in a cart."

"What a day it was! Flags were
flying, bands were playing. . . "

"and all the lovely ladies had
flowers in their hair."

"They had a parade into the bull ring."

"First came the Banderilleros
with long sharp pins with
ribbons on them to stick in
the bull and make him mad."

"Next came the Picadores who
rode skinny horses and they
had long spears to stick in the
bull and make him madder."

"Then came the Matador, the
proudest of all--he thought he
was very handsome, and bowed
to the ladies. He had a red cape
and a sword and was supposed
to stick the bull last of all."

"Then came the bull, and you
know who that was don't you?"

"They called him Ferdinand
the Fierce and all the Banderilleros
were afraid of him and the 
Picadores were afraid of him
and the Matador was scared stiff."

"Ferdinand ran to the middle of
the ring and everyone shouted
and clapped because the
thought he was going to fight
fiercely and butt and snort
and stick his horns around."

"But not Ferdinand. When he
got to the middle of the ring
he saw flowers in all the 
lovely ladies' hair and he just
sat down quietly and smelled."

"He wouldn't fight and be fierce
no matter what they did. He
just sat and smelled. And the
Banderilleros were mad and
the Picadores were madder and
the Matador was so mad he
cried because he couldn't show
off with his cape and sword."

"So they had to take Ferdinand home."

"And for all I know he is sitting
there still, under his favorite
cork tree, smelling the flowers
just quietly."

To read about Robert Lawson go to my first post where you can also view my pink scans :> ).

The Story of Ferdinand
By Munro Leaf
Drawings by Robert Lawson
Puffin Books, 1981

First Published by The Viking Press, 1936


  1. I read this 50 years ago, well remember my copy, oh so cool, cheers Marie

    1. Thanks for your comment Marie, so glad I could post a book that brings back memories for you.

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  2. I'm so glad to have found your blog! It's wonderful.

  3. Thanks much for your comment, you've made my day!

  4. Thank you so much for posting this, you are the best! I had never read this book before. You are so awesome to post the ENTIRE thing for everyone to enjoy! I love this blog, it is wonderful indeed.

  5. What a treat to recapture the experience of reading this wonderful book - still vivid after almost 70 years. Thank you for this!

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.


  7. Dear Jil Casey,

    Thanks very much for posting this classic. Would it be possible for you to update your post by adding the missing page?

    The missing page is: "But not Ferdinand - he still liked to sit under the cork tree and smell the flowers" and shows Ferdinand sitting under the cork tree.

    Insert this page just before the page "One day five men came in very funny hats to pick the biggest, fastest, roughest bull to fight in the bull fights in Madrid."

    This missing page will complete your work, which is already a great contribution.

    All the best,

  8. I like reading this book is called ferdinand its fun and for you can be smart reader

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  10. Our Mother read this book to us as children. There were 6 so it was ingrained in our heads as g the years passed. It brings back some of the warm moments we had with our mother. Thanks for posting it. And please repost with the most important missing page!