Marvellous Munro Leaf

Ferdinand (1936) by Munro Leaf is one of the most influential children’s books because of its simple but powerful theme. The tale of a bull who likes to smell flowers instead of fighting was seen as a pacifist text at the time of the Spanish Civil War. Ferdinand is a reflective character who chooses to be himself rather than follow an aggressive crowd-mentality.

No wonder the book was

Munro Leaf also wrote books which reflected the stricter child-raising style of his time. 3 and 30 Watchbirds (1941) condemns children’s behaviours such as shoe-scuffing, primping, mumbling, moaning, fidgeting, sassing and wasting food. Some of it’s in the spirit of war-time frugality, but some is just plain excessive!

Grammar Can Be Fun is slightly more tongue-in-cheek and warns children against slack language such as “gimme, wanna, gonna, and ain’t”.

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