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first edition

Munro Leaf

The Story of Ferdinand



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First printing of the pacifist children's classic, soon to be banned in Franco's Spain at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War.

  • Murno Leaf (American).
  • Illustrations by Robert Lawson (American).
  • New York: Viking, 1936.
  • [72] pages
  • Bound in original quarter tan cloth, red pictorial boards and with original unclipped ($1.00) red pictorial dust jacket, yellow pictorial endpapers.

"He wouldn't fight and be fierce no matter what they did. He just sat and smelled. And the Banderillos were mad and the Picadores were madder and the Matador was so mad he cried because he couldn't show off with his cape and sword."

The first collaboration of Lawson and Leaf, Ferdinand was a hit with children but caused controversy among adults: the story of the bull who would rather smell the flowers than fight with the other bulls was read politically in the context of the Spanish Civil War. Although he hadn't meant for the book to carry an ideological message, Leaf received angry letters claiming he was "deliberately corrupting children of an impressionable age" (quoted in Davis). A wonderful work, in which the beauty of nonconformity still reads as subversive. A nice copy in jacket, and scarce as such. Davis, The Gospel of Kindness: Animal Welfare and the Making of Modern America.

Condition Report

Star iconVery Good
Like New

Jacket spine sunned, chipping to spine ends and corners.


Height: 8.25 inches / 20.96 cm
Width: 7.25 inches / 18.41 cm


Dust Jacket, First Edition




Modern first editions, Childrens, Illustrated

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