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Bambi: A Life in the Woods Paperback – July 1, 1988

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Editorial Reviews Review

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

Departing from the cuddly-fawn model of the classic Disney film, Schulman (The 20th Century Children's Book Treasury) restores the depth of Bambi's character as she introduces young readers to Bambi: A Life in the Woods, Felix Salten's 1923 novel. Young Bambi explores his new world with wide, wondering eyes, soaking up the experiences that will help him grow into a strong, brave and independent stag. But in order to survive, Bambi must also heed the advice of the wise Great Prince and remember his mother's warnings about "Him," the two-legged "creature" who hunts the animals of the forest. Unfortunately, "He" soon claims the life of Bambi's mother, forcing Bambi to carry on alone. Combining innocence, realism and a profound respect for nature, Schulman's text swiftly moves to the heart of Salten's lessons, namely, the importance of thinking for oneself and of acknowledging that no living creature is all-powerful. Johnson and Fancher, previously paired on Copp?lia by Margot Fonteyn, provide stirring nature scenes in oil paintings of varied size and shape, dappled with sunlight or sometimes darkened by ominous shadows. Whether they are frolicking in fields of purple wildflowers or scattering at the hint of danger, the artists' deer are beauties. All ages. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 700L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Aladdin; Reprint edition (July 1, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067166607X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671666071
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #283,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

82 of 87 people found the following review helpful By thelegalalien on March 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
To all who are confused by sleek marketing: THIS IS NOT THE "REAL" BAMBI!!!

The real "Bambi" is written by Felix Salten, period. And, it wasn't meant as a book for children. It is a philosophical tale about attaining knowledge, wisdom and the enlightenment, if you will. It is an allegory of human life, suffering and the ultimate quest for the TRUTH.

That you can only infer from the original text by Salten, which today seems to be available only on vintage editions from the 20-s. TO give you an idea, the edition being reviewed is 192 pages long, and the 1929 edition of the Salten's text is 293 pages long (same size print). This is how much has been cut out of Salten's text, where IMO every word is thoroughly meaningful and irreplaceable.

The continuous efforts to dumb down this book really makes me wonder. The sugar-coated Disney version of the story started the trend. The "adaptions", while claiming to return to authenticity, reduce the scope of the questions raised in the story to growing up and learning, and to the environmentalist \ anti-hunting issues.

No, it is much more than that. Do not settle for less, get the original. Borrow it from your local library if you must. And, read it to your kids -- they can handle its wisdom.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Denise Bentley on November 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I first read Bambi 30 years ago and was lucky enough to find a 1929 copy that I will hold dear to my heart forever. The author takes you deep into the forest where you become one of the animals. You can feel the cold and smell the fear among them when the two-legged animal called "Man" arrives. It allows readers to immerse themselves in the world, seeing it from an animal's point of view.
It's a great book to share with kids and a valuable learning experience about the ways of nature. At times it is cruel and very true to life. It teaches respect for our elders, and love of family. We stand back and watch Bambi grow stronger until he has a sense of wisdom that only experience can bring. This is truly a book to share with your kids. It is so much more than a Disney cartoon.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Wendy Kaplan on August 2, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is not the nauseatingly cute and precious Disney version. This is the REAL Bambi, the version where a terrible creature called MAN is the enemy, and where the cute and cuddly forest creatures die, and die horribly because of said MAN.
Like Black Beauty, Bambi is a plea for the rights of animals. The message was not lost on me as a young girl, nor is it lost on me now. The senselessness of hunting (my personal point of view) is described in terms an older child can understand--and remember. But a word to parents. Bambi's beloved, gentle, wonderful mother is shot and dies. That's enough to traumatize a young child right there (I didn't do so well with it either, and I was around 8 or 9). There is a vicious, graphically described forest fire. There is the death of the noble, revered (both by Bambi, the forest creatures, and the reader) Great Stag. In the end, Bambi comes into great stagdom himself, and we look to him to continue to try to save the forest and everybody in it.
This is a book, however innocent it seems, that can literally change a life. It did mine, and I know it did others whom I knew and have met since. My lifelong horror of hunting definitely came from this book, as did my reluctance to "cull" the deer that run wild in suburban Pennsylvania, eating one's roses. I don't want them to do it, and I see the logical reason for a "cull," but I cannot abide the thought.
I think every older child should read this version of Bambi as part of one's coming of age. It's a masterpiece of its kind.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Plume45 on April 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
Salten's 1929 children's story bears little resemblance to the famous animated version; no saccharine tale, this little masterpiece presents the story of the value of Life in the forest. In his Foreward to the original novel, British author John Galsworthy praises two elements of BAMBI: the realistic depiction of the challenges facing deer and other woodland creatures, as well as the light-hearted style of dialogue and witty comments on human nature. Translated into English, this literary gem has delighted readers for three generations, truly having earned its classic status.
Born into a large family of deer, Bambi is not yet congnizant that he is the son of a prince. More observant and thougtful than the other fawns, young Bambi learns many harsh lessons about survival against Nature, other animals, and most of all Man--described as the ubiquitous, merciless predator with the pale face, HE. After winning his beloved Faline, Bambi matures over the seasons; but an essential part of his education is provided by his solitary mentor, the old stag. Can Bambi learn enough from him (and other species) to save his family from hated humankind, or will he study merely for his own self-preservation?
Beneath the author's charming tale in which animals act and sound much like the humans they fear, there remains a serious underlying theme: man' wanton destruction of the forest for sport or amusement. Hinting at our moral obligation Salten subtly shames us--and our faithful pets--for blatant disregard or disrespect of nature. Disney's version is fine, but until you have read the original, you don't really Know Bambi. A story of personal growth and a gentle study in compassion, for readers of all ages.
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