Bambi comes into the world in a forest glade, loved by his mother, protected by a thicket. He grows up frolicking in the meadow, befriending butterflies and screech owls, and learning about the dark fear of all the woodland creatures: man. Over time, Bambi seeks out the wisdom of the prince of deer, a magnificent old stag who walks alone through the paths of the forest. Bambi is torn between his desire to be with his beloved mate, Faline, and his yearning for the knowledge and solitude the prince represents. He is also conflicted about his friend Gobo, who has returned to the forest after a winter living among humans. Gobo behaves unnaturally by strolling through the woods by day when other deer are sleeping, showing no fear of his natural mortal enemy.
This 1926 classic has been stretched and squeezed into many forms over the years, but the Felix Salten original should not be missed. With the richer, more highly wrought language of his time, Salten crafts a story layered in meaning, weighty with its message. The sometimes cruel, often joyful cycle of life continues, in spite of those who try to defy nature's law. (Ages 9 to 12) --Emilie Coulter
From Publishers Weekly
In 1999, Schulman adapted Salten's 1923 novel, bringing the original tale of a young deer's coming of age to a generation more familiar with the Disney animated version. Here, the woodland story, considered by many critics to be the first "ecological" novel, springs to life via Dolan's fine reading. Young listeners will be eager to follow along on Bambi's first frolics in the meadow, where he encounters a magpie, grasshoppers, butterflies and dandelions. By then, listeners will be hooked enough to stay with this recording as Bambi takes in stride the important, if somber, life lessons imparted by his mother, all the while trying to understand why "life is so difficult and dangerous." And when hunters encroach, taking his mother from him, Bambi knows he has to follow the advice of the stag known as the Great Prince: "Listen, smell and see for yourself; live by yourself; find out for yourself." Dolan's comfortable storytelling style conveys all the wonder, awe and self-discovery of the material and does not over-sentimentalize the deeper emotional current that comes with encountering death. A wide range of listeners will find much to appreciate in this more serious (compared to Disney's interpretation) look at a beloved children's character. Ages 6-up.
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