The Story of Ferdinand, Revisited
Did you know that Ferdinand the Bull turned seventy five years old on March 31?
After posting my “Make Way for Ducklings” video on Rosslyn Redux, several friends mentioned that Robert McCloskey’s Boston duckling adventure was one of their favorite children’s books too. Which inevitably prompted me to throw The Story of Ferdinand into the mix. A lifelong fan of Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson’s masterpiece, I’m forever finding excuses to toss the flower-sniffing bull into conversation…
From good things, good things come! I was rewarded with exciting news: Ferdinand is a septuagenarian! For three quarters of a century Ferdinand has inspired kids (and adults!) to stop and savor the blossoms.
Once upon a time in Spain there was a little bull and his name was Ferdinand,” the book, which was illustrated with simple black-and-white ink drawings, opens. Deep in corrida des toros country, Ferdinand stood out from all the other bulls: “He liked to sit just quietly and smell the flowers.(ArtsBeat, New York Times)
Pamela Paul‘s post lead me to the quirky video above in which Seth Rogannarrates and the Salastina Music Society accompanies. Creative interpretation of the story!
Chasing down a related link to a vocal rendition of Ferdinand the Bull by The Lennon Sisters I stumbled across this version performed by theDixieland Swingsters. In fact, it turns out that YouTube is chock full of Ferdinand videos including:
- a bizarre human-sized puppet musical
- a montage from a Ferdinand musical
- quirky College of Charleston musical
- Ferdinand the Bull for violin and speaker
- Simon and Agnes Maurer play Ferdinand the Bull
I suppose that 75 years is plenty of time for derivative works to be inspired, produced and forgotten. And yet, I’d never stopped to consider the cretive legacy that The Story of Ferdinand. Cool. But I’m still sticking with the original. Simple line drawings and all!
- Ferdinand the Bull Turns 75 (artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com)