Munro Leaf

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Wilbur Monroe Leaf (aka Munro Leaf) (December 4, 1905 – December 21, 1976), was an American author of children's literature who wrote and illustrated nearly 40 books during his 40-year career. He is best known for The Story of Ferdinand (1936), a children's classic which he wrote on a yellow legal-length pad in less than an hour. Labeled as subversive, it stirred an international controversy.


Born in Hamilton, Maryland, Leaf graduated from the University of Maryland in 1927 and from Harvard University with a Master's degree in English literature in 1931. He taught secondary school and then worked as an editor with the publisher Frederick A. Stokes Company. Leaf once commented, "Early on in my writing career I realized that if one found some truths worth telling they should be told to the young in terms that were understandable to them."

It's Murder She Says, Private Snafu cartoon directed by Chuck Jones, co-written by Dr. Seuss and Munro Leaf

He wrote The Story of Ferdinand for his friend, illustrator Robert Lawson. The story, which follows a gentle bull in rural Spain who prefers smelling flowers to bullfighting, sparked considerable controversy because Ferdinand was regarded by some as a pacifist symbol. Banned in Spain and burned as propaganda in Nazi Germany, the book had over 60 foreign translations and has never gone out of print. The story was adapted into a Walt Disney film which won a 1938 Academy Award.

Leaf and Lawson's second collaboration, Wee Gillis, about a boy living in Scotland halfway between his father's family in the Highlands and his mother's in the Lowlands, was cited as a 1939 Caldecott Honor Book.


Leaf's other notable creation was the Watchbirds cartoon series, a cartoon commentary on human behavior. It ran as regular feature in the Ladies' Home Journal and was later collected into several books.

During the Second World War, Leaf and Ted Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) created the pamphlet, This Is Ann, about a mosquito spreading malaria to men who failed to take precautions.

On April 22, 1995, Leaf was inducted into the University of Maryland Alumni Hall of Fame. Some of his books have been brought back into print in recent years.


The English composer Alan Ridout set The Story of Ferdinand to music. A version in French, released on Analekta (AN2 8741–2), is Solo by Angèle Dubeau, narrated by Pierre Lebeau.

In 1998, the Minnesota Orchestra commissioned Alice Gomez to write two works based on The Story of Ferdinand. Composed in a Spanish style, El Piquete de Abeja (the Bee Sting) and Habanera de Ferdinand make up the Ferdinand-inspired suite. These works were recorded in 2008 by the Michigan Philharmonic and are available on their CD Magical Tunes & Marvelous Tales.


  • Leaf, Munro, Grammar Can Be Fun New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1934.
  • Mun (Munro Leaf) Lo, the Poor Indian New York: Leaf, Mahoney, Seidel & Stokes, 1934.
  • Leaf, Munro, The Boy Who Would Not Go to School: Robert Francis Weatherbee New York, Frederick A. Stokes Co., 1935.
  • Leaf, Munro, Manners Can Be Fun New York, Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1936
  • Leaf, Munro, Robert Lawson (illustrator). The Story of Ferdinand New York, Viking Press, 1936.
  • Leaf, Munro, Ludwig Bemelmans (illustrator) Noodle New York, Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1937.
  • Leaf, Munro, Robert Lawson (illustrator). Wee Gillis New York, Viking Press, 1938.
  • Leaf, Munro, Dick Rose (illustrator) Listen Little Girl, Before You Come to New York New York: Frederick A. Stokes Co., 1938.
  • Leaf, Munro, Disney Illustrators. Walt Disney's Ferdinand the Bull New York, Dell Publishing, 1938.
  • Leaf, Munro, The Watchbirds New York, Frederick A. Stokes, 1938.
  • Leaf, Munro, Safety Can Be Fun New York, Frederick A. Stokes company, 1938.
  • Leaf, Munro, Fair Play New York, Frederick A. Stokes, 1939.
  • Leaf, Munro, More Watchbirds: A Picture Book of Behavior New York, Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1940.
  • Leaf, Munro, John Henry Davis New York, Frederick A Stokes, 1940.
  • Leaf, Munro, Fly Away, Watchbird: A Picture Book of Behavior New York, Frederick A Stokes Company. 1941.
  • Leaf, Munro, Robert Lawson (illustrator). Aesop's Fables New York, Heritage Press, 1941.
  • Leaf, Munro, Munro Leaf's Fun Book New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1941.
  • Leaf, Munro, Robert Lawson. The Story of Simpson and Sampson. New York, Viking Press, 1941.
  • Leaf, Munro, A War-Time Handbook for Young Americans Philadelphia: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1942.
  • Leaf, Munro, My Book to Help America Racine, WI: Whitman Publishing Co. 1942.
  • Leaf, Munro, Theodor Seuss Geisel (illustrator). This is Ann, She's Dying to Meet You. US Government War Department, Washington, 1943.
  • Leaf, Munro, Health Can be Fun New York, J.B. Lippincott, 1943.
  • Leaf, Munro, Gordon The Goat Philadelphia and New York, J.B. Lippincott Co., 1944.
  • Leaf, Munro, 3 and 30 Watchbirds: A Picture Book of Behavior Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Co., 1944.
  • Leaf, Munro, Let's Do Better J.B. Lippincott Co., 1945.
  • Calvert, John (Munro Leaf) Garrett Price (illustrator). Gwendolyn the Goose Random house, 1946.
  • Leaf, Munro, How to Behave and Why Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1946.
  • Leaf, Munro, Flock of Watchbirds New York, J.B. Lippincott, 1946.
  • Leaf, Munro, Who is the Man Against the Marshall Plan Committee for the Marshall Plan, 1947.
  • Leaf, Munro, Frances Tipton Hunte (Illustrator). Boo, Who Used to Be Scared of the Dark New York, Random House, 1948.
  • Leaf, Munro, Sam and the Superdroop New York, Viking Press, 1948.
  • Menninger, William C. (M.D.); Leaf, Munro. You and Psychiatry New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1948.
  • Leaf, Munro, Arithmetic Can Be Fun Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1949.
  • Leaf, Munro, History Can Be Fun Philadelphia: Lippincott Co. 1950.
  • Leaf, Munro, The Danger of Hiding Our Heads Committee on the Present Danger, 1951.
  • Leaf, Munro, Geography Can Be Fun! Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1951.
  • Leaf, Munro, Reading Can Be Fun Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1953.
  • Leaf, Munro, Lucky You J.B. Lippincott 1955.
  • Leaf, Munro, How to Behave and Why J.B. Lippincott 1955.
  • Leaf, Munro, Three Promises to You Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1957.
  • Leaf, Munro, Science Can Be Fun Philadelphia, J.B. Lippincott. 1958.
  • Leaf, Munro, The Wishing Pool New York: J.B. Lippincott, 1960.
  • Leaf, Munro, Being an American Can Be Fun Philadelphia, J. B. Lippincott 1964.
  • Leaf, Munro, Turnabout Philadelphia, J.B. Lippincott Company, 1967.
  • Leaf, Munro, I Hate You Boston: Sterling Institute Press, 1968.
  • Leaf, Munro, Who Cares? I Do New York, J.B. Lippincott, 1971.
  • Leaf, Munro, Metric Can Be Fun Winnipeg, MB, Canada: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1976.
  • Leaf, Munro, Four and Twenty Watchbirds Hamden, Connecticut: Linnet Books, 1990.
  • Leaf, Munro, How to Speak Politely and Why Universe, 2005.


External links[edit]