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Happy Earth Day, Happy birthday, Taurus!


Ferdinand the Bull, Munro Leaf, Robert Larson

Earth Day and the First Day of Taurus fall together. I draw lots of cows but I've never done a bull, so I turned to Ferdinand, the bull who only wanted to sit and smell the flowers. Here's what Wikipedia says about this masterpiece written by Munro Leaf (I've always loved that name) and illustrated by Robert Larson.


"In 1938, Life Magazine called Ferdinand 'the greatest juvenile classic since Winnie the Pooh' and suggested that 'three out of four grownups buy the book largely for their own pleasure and amusement' ".[1]The article also noted that Ferdinand was accused of being a political symbol, noting that "too-subtle readers see in Ferdinand everything from a fascist to a pacifist to a burlesque sit-down striker".[1]Others labelled the work "as promoting fascism, anarchism, and communism".[4]The Cleveland Plain Dealer" accused the book of corrupting the youth of America" while The New York Times downplayed the possible political allegories, insisting the book was about being true to oneself.[6]


The book was released less than two months after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, and was seen by many supporters of Francisco Franco as a pacifist book.[7] It was banned in many countries, including in Spain (where it remained banned until after Franco's death).[6]In Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler ordered the book burned (as "degenerate democratic propaganda"), while it was the only American children's book available for sale in Stalinist-era Poland.[6]It received particular praise from Thomas Mann, H. G. Wells, Gandhi, and Franklinand Eleanor Roosevelt.[3]Following the 1945 defeat of Germany during the Second World War, 30,000 copies were quickly published and given out for free to the country's children in order to encourage peace.[6]"


Yikes! What a lot to put on a children's book. I suggest you read it for yourself, and, while you're at it, take some time to smell the flowers.



April 22, 2019


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