Ferdinand The Bull
Ferdinand… doesn’t fit the typical mold of other young male bulls: he doesn’t like to fight or butt heads. All he wants to do is enjoy the meadow and smell the flowers… “Ferdinand’ is a perfectly absurd story which will make everybody laugh and chuckle.“ ~ Smell the Ink
Absurd, perhaps, and sublime to boot! My favorite book as a boy; and today, my favorite boy as a book. The Story of Ferdinand.
This simple but poignant children’s book written by Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson has never lost its sparkle for me. It’s still inside, still beside my bedside, still my favorite gift for chilluns and olduns alike. The story, the pictures, the corks in the trees, the flowers in the ladies’ hair, the dazed look of confusion/euphoria on Ferdinand’s handsome mug, his mother’s look of concern, the bee-stings-bull’s-@$$ action sequence, the long ride home. The Story of Ferdinand is a must own, read, re-read for the child in all of us. And the adult in every child.
Update: I’ve come across the video version of Ferdinand’s story quite by accident. Never knew it existed. Raised without television I overlooked the obvious: most good children’s books were at some point Disnified!
A quirky little video, certainly no more compelling than the story. Perhaps less so? I am intrigued to see Lawson’s illustrations animated, as if — after so many years — Ferdinand had wiggled off the page. Ferd’s mother, especially her goofy walk and her grating voice, is a little far from the mark.
The rather dated flavor or this Walt Disney short and the almost literal translation of the story to film does provoke my curiosity what a modern digital version of this children’s story would look like. I imagine that the digital potential is much more compelling than the short film. Perhaps it already exists?
- Ferdinand the Bull Turns 75 (artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com)