Written By Munro Leaf Illustrated by Robert Lawson 1936

Alyson Wang 402110049

Picture Books Literature and Pedagogy – Dr. Yang

Journal 2


Munro Leaf was a children's writer best known for The Story of Ferdinand, published in 1936 and illustrated by Robert Lawson. Before it was published, Leaf and Lawson were friends and discussed what work they could make. Their cooperation resulted in the successful publication of The Story of Ferdinand, a story talking about a peaceful but rebellious bull. This picture book also represented the time and situation coming before World War II. It was not accepted by all people at that time. People regarded Ferdinand as Fascist or satirical of pacifism. Hitler even ordered the book and burned it. However, it was published year by year and won the reputation of one of the best classic children’s books.


In fact I don’t like the illustration very much, since the strokes are too real and not childlike. But the facial expressions on the characters’ faces are vivid. Although there aren’t so many illustrations in our textbook, I can know what the illustrator wants to convey by looking at the characters’ emotion or gestures.

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The story is also touching based on two parts. First, when Ferdinand’s mom asked him why he didn’t play with other bulls, Ferdinand replied that he preferred to sit there smelling the flowers. Unlike other moms would say, Ferdinand’ mother was understanding and let him be happy. I think the cow mom shows affection to her child even though her kid is different from other bulls. She wasn’t that strict and rigorous. Second, Ferdinand didn’t care about people watching him on the middle of the ring after accidentally being picked by those five men. He tried to be himself regardless of being different from other bulls. I like the ending, “And for all I know he is sitting there still, under his favorite cork tree, smelling the flowers just quietly. He is very happy.” He is such an adorable bull that always did what he likes. Sometimes in order to catch up with the trend, people mimic others’ behavior or wear fashionable clothes. However, this doesn’t mean you’re special and gorgeous. I think the most important is to do whatever you like.

In short, I learn how to be myself and value ourselves. Additionally, the one who secretly supports you is always your close family or friend. So no matter how others treat us, there are always family and friends standing beside us.


Johnson, Virginia. “Munro Leaf.” Librarypoint. Web. 18 March. 2016.

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