Welcome to the blog of the Tasmanian branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia!

Saturday 27 January 2018

The Story of Ferdinand revisited

This week Chris explores a comparison between the 1936 picture book and the new release feature length movie 'Ferdinand'...

There are so many elements involved with comparing both forms of the story - I will attempt to keep it simple yet provide opportunities to explore some of these. This story is one that I have treasured since before I can remember.

The Story of Ferdinand, written by Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson, was published in 1936 and has been in print and popular with children and their teachers and parents for over 80 years. Ferdinand is a bull who has no ambition to fight in the bullring in Madrid, he prefers to smell the flowers in the meadows of his home.

At the time it was published it was very controversial as the link given shows, due not only to its subject matter but also the setting and the time. It became a runaway best seller, never having been out of print since.
It was made into a cartoon in 1938 by Walt Disney, the story line following the original very closely, with some characteristically humorous Disney touches.

The Ferdinand of the movie has many things in common with the original story, but the events would not fill a feature length movie as it stands, so the story has gained many characters, events and attitudes that are far from the original.

I went to see this movie with two friends, both experienced teachers who had known and loved Ferdinand’s story from childhood, as had I, and had all read it to many children over the years.
We were rather apprehensive about the movie experience, as we had read the following review by Sharon Brody from Cognoscenti but we went anyway.

There were, as we expected, quite a few shocks for us to weather but we three ultimately agreed on the fact that though this was in many ways a different story it was a retelling that fits in today’s world. We also enjoyed it very much. You might too!

Christine Donnelly
Teacher Librarian (moving into Publications) and avid reader

1 comment:

  1. I loved Ferdinand as a child. We had the story on a record and I listened to it so much I could recite the story. I remember often crying when Ferdinand was taken away to fight in the bullfights and the sadness I felt of his separation from his familiar home. Thank you for this story it has brought back so many memories of childhood :)