Book Review: Bambi: A Life in the Woods by Felix Salten

Bambi: A Life in the WoodsBambi: A Life in the Woods by Felix Salten
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is not Disney. This book was incredible. The description was so real, the language not dumbed down for kids. Yes, the animals talked, but it wasn’t cutesy, silly talking. It was Watership Down kind of talking. I read this to my five-and-a-half-year-old daughter (I’m trying to give her the original versions of all of the stories before she sees the Disney versions). When the first scary thing happened, I worried that I’d made a horrible mistake. But, although she was upset, she put it all into perspective very quickly. I loved watching her build a connection with the characters. At one point she said something like, “The words seem so real!” How wonderful to watch my daughter’s love of reading and storytelling develop!
Update: I’ve thought about this book overnight and now I’ve got a few more things I wanted to add. Like another reviewer mentioned, the conversation between two leaves at the end of fall was masterful. There are so many issues of life and death and of God and of domestication. I was thinking about this book in the context of Salten’s life as a Jew in Austria before the second World War. Apparently, he was born in Budapest in 1869 and moved to Vienna when he was just a baby because in 1867, Jews got full citizenship in Vienna. This book was published in 1926, and I’m just starting to think about the messages in the book in the context of what was going on in Europe at the time. There are just so many layers of understanding. No wonder I found this book so satisfying.

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