27 February 2008
You have to give it up for Ferdinand, one of my most favorite children's stories ever written. I think he's a very good example of you can't fight who you really are. Ever since I read the book/saw this animation... I've wanted to see a real cork tree.
Published more than 50 years ago (and one of the bestselling children's books of all time), this simple story of peace and contentment has withstood the test of many generations. Ferdinand is a little bull who much prefers sitting quietly under a cork tree-- just smelling the flowers--to jumping around, snorting, and butting heads with other bulls. This cow is no coward--he simply has his pacifist priorities clear. As Ferdinand grows big and strong, his temperament remains mellow, until the day he meets with the wrong end of a bee. In a show of bovine irony, the one day Ferdinand is most definitely not sitting quietly under the cork tree (due to a frightful sting), is the selfsame day that five men come to choose the "biggest, fastest, roughest bull" for the bullfights in Madrid. Ferdinand's day in the arena gives readers not only an education in the historical tradition of bullfighting, but also a lesson in nonviolent tranquility.
And it's safe to say that Robert Lawson's clean line work is absolutely stunning. It's refreshing to take a look back at the simplicity of color and line due to the technologies limitations compared to today's printing press capabilities. I heart Ferdinand.