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Smelling the Flowers

by Mary Alice Carnes, Community Relations Manager
On Sunday afternoon, Theatre Action Project presented a storytelling as part of Central Market’s celebration of the Tastes of Spain celebration and this was TAP’s version of “running with the bulls.” Children and their families gathered on the grass to listen to the story of Ferdinand the Bull.Munro Leaf’senchanting story has charmed children and families since 1936. Leaf’s book was such a success that it competed with Gone with the Wind on the bestseller list of the time. The story tells the tale of a gentle bull named Ferdinand who would rather smell the flowers than follow traditional nature of most bulls to fight. In Leaf’s story other bulls also hoped to be chosen to fight in the bull ring facing brave matadors.


It was a picture perfect day to be outdoors in park area of Central Market North. TAP volunteers helped children make colorful tissue paper and pipe cleaner flowers. The flowers were part of the ambiance of the day’s Spanish celebrations, of course, but if those same flower-making children happened to sit in on the telling of Ferdinand the Bull later, they discovered that flowers were Ferdinand’s main focus.
At the point in the story that Ferdinand finds himself in the center of a bull ring children were encouraged by the storyteller to toss their flowers in Ferdinand’s direction, as is often done in the bull ring. To their delight, children saw the gentle Ferdinand stop to sniff their flowers. In the end, Ferdinand is the brave one, because Ferdinand makes the choice to follow his heart. The fun papier-mâché bulls on Sunday depicting Ferdinand and his mother created by TAP were a hit with the kids who wanted to touch them, ride them, and get inside to see how they operated.

It’s nice to know that after 75 years, Ferdinand has so much to teach us. Did you read Ferdinand the Bull as a child? What lessons did you learn from him? Feel free to comment, we would love to hear from you.

About creativeactionaustin

We are based in Austin, Texas and reach more than 16,000 young people every year through our unique blend of theatre and education programs.Our programs expose young people to critical social problems and offer opportunities for them to creatively think about how they can be a part of solutions to these problems. Creative Action is a unique blend of art and education – for us, the two are intertwined. We believe that using the arts as a teaching method provides a fun, engaging and inspiring way to learn – it incorporates the whole mind and body.

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