by Felix Salten
Bambi, telling of how his children grew up while he reigned as the strongest and wisest stag in the forest. It isn't nearly as good. The storyline has some close similarities, but in this case it ends when the young deer are ready to leave their parents and become independent. The most interesting parts feel more or less repeated from the prior book- one of the young deer gets rescued by a gamekeeper; but in this case it tells first-hand of her experience while she's trapped and she doesn't experience the same awkwardness as Gobo did upon returning. Hunters are not as prevalent a danger as before, and this time the story is often told from the humans' viewpoint; we hear them talking and see their motives where before it was all presented from the animals' point of view with human activity more or less a mystery. Some humans are shown to be sympathetic to the animals, others wanton killers. The fox is a threat again, and a dog that runs loose from the village and starts savaging deer for amusement. The owl becomes a creature who spouts proverbs, which frequently confuse the other animals when they refer to things from human culture. The hare is more of a nervous wreck, the birds more quarrelsome. Even the deer seem to engage in petty quarrels- the very opening scene of the book has Bambi's children arguing like petulant human siblings, with their mother Faline being chided by a bird for spoiling them. The trees talk sometimes, but what they say doesn't really add to anything. The descriptions of nature and seasons aren't as well-written. I did enjoy the story a little, enough to finish the book, but for the most part it seemed to be focused on misunderstandings between the deer families that resulted in them refusing to associate with each other, even when the children had forgotten the grievance and wanted to make amends the parents couldn't bring themselves to. The story ended when all was finally forgiven and that was a really unsatisfying climax. Disappointment.
rating: 3/5 ........ 236 pages, 1939 ........ find it at Powell's Books or on Amazon