Bambi, a Life in the Woods (originally published in Austria as Bambi: Eine Lebensgeschichte aus dem Walde) was a1923 Austrian novel written by Felix Salten and published by Paul Zsolnay Verlag. The novel was the predecessor of the famed Disney film, though it was published almost twenty full years prior to Bambi's 1942 release. It was targeted at an adult audience, and even today it is not recommended for children to read it.
Considered to be one of the first environmental novels published, an English translation by Whittaker Chambers was published in North America by Simon & Schuster in 1928. The novel has since been translated and published in over 20 languages around the world. Salten released a sequel, Bambis Kinder, eine Familie im Walde (Bambi's Children: A Family in the Woods), in 1939.
The novel was well received by critics and is considered a classic. It was named "Book of the Year" for its 1928 English adaptation. It sold over 650,000 copies by 1942, and since then over 5 million have been sold in the US alone. Worldwide, it has sold over 30 million, and each year the number keeps going up.
Bambi Cover (the Knight Publishers edition)
The movie follows the novel very closely, but some differences include:
- In the novel, Bambi is born without fanfare, as opposed to the film where he was born and the whole forest was aware of the fact.
- The leaves in the trees could talk, and talked about the coming of winter and how they were about to die.
- Bambi is shot by the hunters, and takes several months to be nursed back to health by the Great Prince.
- The animals are able to see Man.
- Man's dogs can talk, and are taunted by a fox before they tear it to pieces.
- Bambi actually meets his children at the end, much like he first met his own father.