My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Available to purchase on Amazon
My husband surprised me with a gorgeous 1929 hardback copy of Bambi by Felix Salten. Salten’s writing style is beautifully descriptive and fluid, pulling you into the world of the woodland creatures. The coming of age story of Bambi, a deer, is thoughtful, poignant, and subtly shares the importance of respecting nature.
Once I began reading, I could not put this book down until I was finished. I would highly recommend this book for families and youth. And for those, like me, who did not realize that the Disney movie of the same name was loosely based off this story: the book is phenomenally better. (Aren’t they always?)
The above images were taken from an Ebay posting as it is the same, hard-to-find edition Bradley brought home. In poor condition, it looks like it is selling online for $40-$50, but ours is in surprisingly good condition. I love collecting old books!
Of course, from the moment Bambi and his mother approached the meadow in Chapter 2, I was filled with apprehension since Bambi’s mother is shot and killed in the Disney version in the meadow. It did not help that, very obnoxiously, Bradley randomly decided to make a shotgun sound. I nearly smacked him with the book! 😉
As I mentioned in the official review above, the book is phenomenally better than the Disney version. We are given a glimpse into deer society as imagined by Salten and are privileged to experience the interactions with various woodland creatures as Bambi himself does. We worry about the health of his cousin Gobo, feel the fear and sorrow when the hunting party comes into the forest, and admire the Old Prince, who always seems to show up when Bambi is in danger or need of guidance.
This story could be used to teach youths lessons in morality, obedience to parents, independence, the dangers of pride, compassion, and respect for nature.
Scattered very subtly throughout the story are references to the Creator and a future in which the animals will have no need to fear humanity, for there will be peace and joy. The fluid style of writing also make this book excellent to read aloud.
I absolutely loved this book, and now I want to find Salten’s sequel Bambi’s Children.