A children's book written by Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson, published in 1936, it is the story of a bull who would rather sit down and smell flowers than fight in a ring like all the other bulls.In a pasture in sunny southern Spain, while all the other young bulls are constantly play-fighting and butting heads with each other, a young bull named Ferdinand would rather sit down and smell flowers all day. When he grows up, although he becomes very strong and powerful, he would still rather sit and smell flowers all day.One day, several men come along looking for bulls for the bullring in Madrid. At that very moment, Ferdinand sits on a flower being visited by a foraging bee, which immediately stings him, causing him to go off on a wild rampage of destruction, which leaves an impression on the scouts, who take him away to the Great Bullring in Madrid.Once there, it seems that everyone in Madrid came to watch the fight between Ferdinand and the matador. Once Ferdinand finally shows up in the ring everyone acts scared of him. Someone in the audience throws down a bouquet of flowers, and when he comes charging out everybody runs from him, including the matador, but he stops in the middle of the ring to smell the flowers. Nothing the matador does provokes Ferdinand into fighting him. Eventually Ferdinand is taken back to the pasture, where he lives happily sitting and smelling the flowers.Adapted as a cartoon in 1938 by Walt Disney as the Silly Symphonies cartoon Ferdinand the Bull. A CGI feature adaptation starring John Cena called Ferdinand made by Blue Sky Studios was released in 2017.
Contains ecamples of:
- All Deserts Have Cacti: Although the story is set in the rather arid regions of Southern Spain, we obviously see prickly pear cacti in the background.
- A Load of Bull: Bulls are sapient and want to participate in the bullfight for glory, except for the gentle Ferdinand.
- Beastly Bloodsports: Bullfighting is central to the story.
- Bee Afraid: Sitting on a bumblebee is what initiates Ferdinand going mad and getting selected for the bullfight.
- Berserk Button: A mild one for Ferdinand's mother in the Disney adaptation, who frowns at the narrator for calling her a cow.
- Blowing a Raspberry: A blink-and-you'll-miss-it part in the Disney adaptation. When the crowd shows dismay and anger at Ferdinand for smelling the flowers, one of the horses can be seen sticking his tongue out at him. The matador also blows a raspberry at Ferdinand when trying to taunt him to fight.
- Central Theme: Never judge a bull by its cover.
- Creator Cameo: In the Disney adaptation, Walt Disney himself provides the "speaking" voice of Ferdinand's mother, and animator Milt Kahl voices Ferdinand as a calf.
- Easter Egg: In the Disney adaptation, one of the spectators entering the bullring is Snow White.
- Face Palm: The matador delivers an epic one when Ferdinand refuses to fight.
- Gentle Giant: Ferdinand, who is an enormous bull who hates to fight and would rather smell the flowers.
- Good Parents: Ferdinand's mother doesn't understand why her son doesn't play with the other bulls, but she lets him continue smelling the flowers.
- Spexico: Obvious in the dress of the bull scouts (one of them even wears a sombrero), and the architecture of Madrid.