The Story of Ferdinand (Literature Study)

This past week, we focused on The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf. This is a really sweet book about a bull who doesn’t want to run and jump and fight like the other bulls. He just wants to sit under a cork tree and smell the flowers. I know I’m an adult but the truth? I really love this book. =)

We discovered Ferdinand through Five in a Row (FIAR). We don’t actually have the FIAR manuals but we are reading the books from the curriculum and doing activities based on them (thank you, Pinterest!). We read the story each day of the week, just like the FIAR curriculum prescribes. On one day this week, we also watched the 1938 Disney version of it on YouTube.


The Story of Ferdinand is about contentment. Kids of Integrity has a great (free) Bible lesson on this topic. You can find out more here.

Geography/Social Studies

We talked about the culture and geography of Spain. We listened to the national anthem and practiced saying some Spanish words.

Map Work – We put a star on our big map to show that we “visited” Spain. We looked it up in the atlas and on the globe too. I think it’s important for the girls to learn to use a variety of mapping tools.

Notebooking – The girls coloured the Spanish flag and glued it in their notebooks. They cut out pictures that represent Spanish food, culture and geography for their notebooks. They also made a little Spanish book about colours (it was a printable included in the free Ferdinand lapbook pack).

Flag – My amazing husband just happened to come across a giant Spanish flag for less than $3 at a hardware store. He snagged it so we could drape it across the wall. Fun, eh?


I had the girls copy some key words from the book (Spain, bull, flower, cork). I wrote them on the chalkboard for my five-year old to copy on a piece of paper. I let my three-year old trace them on the chalkboard. We also did some copywork we found in the lapbook from

And we, of course, did our two regular phonics programs (Handwriting without Tears and Explode the Code).

Language Arts

We played a “Noun Game” that I made to go along with the story. I printed pictures of nouns from the book (pasture, bull, Ferdinand, matador, bull ring, flower, etc.). The girls had to decide whether the picture was of a person, a place or a thing and then put it under the appropriate heading.


Flower Sticks – In addition to our regular math work (we are using the Horizons program), we made Flower Counting Sticks and used them to practice counting, addition and subtraction.

Measuring – In the book, there is an illustration of Ferdinand’s “growth chart”. We talked about measurements and then spent some time measuring each other and different things around the house, just for fun.


Hat Craft – Five men in funny hats take Ferdinand to the bullring, so our first art project was to make silly hats out of a kit that I grabbed from somewhere or another a while ago.

Bull Craft – We made toilet paper roll bulls based on the idea we found here. The girls cut the pieces out of cardstock, coloured them, and glued the bull together.

Drama Cards – has action cards to go along with the book. We chose a card and acted it out. It was a lot of fun.

Castanets – We learned about flamenco music/dance and made castanets out of paper and bottle caps. (The idea came from here.)

Structured Play – We used some of our toys to create a scene from the book.

Cork Boats – See Science section below.


Cork Activities – Our first science activity was to talk about cork trees. The Smithsonian Magazine has a great article with lots of photos showing the cork being harvested.

We talked about how cork floats on water and made little cork boats to demonstrate.

The girls cut out photos of the cork harvesting process and glued them in their notebooks, along with a sliver of real cork.

Guess the Scent Game – Because Ferdinand loves to smell the flowers, we spent a bit of time talking about the sense of smell. I put various objects in paper bags and let the girls use their noses to guess what was inside. They wrote their answers down on a piece of paper.

Flowers – We learned about the various parts of flowers and did some notebooking activities to go along with the lesson. I drew a diagram of a flower on the white board so we would have a visual in front of us.

The girls had a lot of fun dissecting a flower and identifying the parts.

Field Trip – Today, we are taking a field trip to a local fall fair and, although are probably no bulls, we’ll be sure to stop by and visit the cows!

Paella and Churros

My favourite part of our literature studies is the ethnic cooking that goes along with them. This week, we are making (shrimpless) paella and cinnamon and sugar-covered churros. So delicious!


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