One of my favorite memories from childhood is the day I received a special present from my grandparents. When I was about 3 years old (or was it 4?), my grandparents came for a visit and brought with them a stuffed animal wrapped in clear cellophane and tied with a huge bow (yellow, I think). The stuffed animal was a donkey with an oversized head on a little body and large ears that stuck straight up from the top of its head. It was seated, with its back legs curled around its front legs, and it had large, brown eyes and the sweetest face I’d ever seen. I fell in love immediately and named him Ferdinand. When my grandparents arrived, I’d been reading The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf. (To be honest, either my mom was reading it to me or I was reciting it to myself, since I knew it by heart. I can’t remember which.) The Story of Ferdinand, my favorite book at the time, is the story of a bull who wanted to sit and smell the flowers rather than fight in the bullring. Why not name my new favorite stuffed animal after my favorite storybook character? I knew that donkeys and bulls weren’t the same thing, but this little donkey’s ears sticking straight up off the top of its head looked a little bit like a bull’s horns – so close enough. After writing a draft of this post, I purchased a copy of The Story of Ferdinand and read it again for the first time in (many, many) years. It’s still a great story.