By Rev. Lori Ethridge
Minister to Senior Adults
I have written before about my five year old granddaughter, Ruby. I always get excited when Little Lambs has a consignment sale here at the church because I love shopping for her, especially at bargain prices. This year, I think I bought her as many books as I did clothes. She adores Amelia Bedelia, but there were no books about that silly maid to be found at the Little Lambs sale. However, at the September sale I did run across a favorite title from my own childhood days. Do you know The Story of Ferdinand? It is a children’s book about a bull who would rather smell the flowers in a grassy field than to fight in the arena. The underlying theme is about accepting others for how they are and for who they are. This popular book, written by Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson, was published in 1936. It sold 14,000 copies for $1. By 1938 it sold 3000 copies per week, to become the #1 best-selling book in America, out pacing Gone With the Wind that year. The Story of Ferdinand has been translated in over 60 languages. Because of its pacifist message, it was banned in Nazi Germany, however, in 1946, 30,000 copies were published in German and circulated, for free, to school children in order to promote peace.
If you are already doing some Christmas shopping, and have any children on your list, I highly recommend The Story of Ferdinand. If the future belongs to our children, and if we believe in the Peaceable Kingdom that Isaiah describes in which the wolf lives with the lamb, and the leopard lies down with the kid, and the little child will lead them, maybe we need to be reading to our children and grandchildren tales like The Story of Ferdinand so that we might help to hasten the day when the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord, and no one will kill or destroy on God’s holy mountain (Is 11:9).