The Spanish Civil War was the historical backdrop for this story, and after the book was published, people tried to find meaning in the characters and plot as related to that war. In Spain and in Germany, the book was actually banned! It grew in popularity after the banning, and over 80,000 copies were ordered to be published.
Even Pete Wentz from the rock band Fall Out Boys says that Ferdinand is one of his childhood favorites, and he had this to say about the book's message: "The book provides an amazing metaphor for how people can be. There's something really honorable about following your own path and not doing what's expected of you."
Here's a page from the book:
If you want to read the full story behind the book, you can CLICK HERE to learn more.