As you can probably tell from scrolling down, a few days ago I reviewed the classic Disney movie, Bambi. As iconic and groundbreaking as the movie was, it was in fact, based on a bestselling book that is just as beautiful as it’s much more famous Disney counterpart.
Bambi’s one of those rare times where both the book and the movie are equally as amazing and beautiful. The movie follows the book fairly faithfully but somehow has a completely different story. The synopsis is pretty similar, a fawn growing up in the woods has to learn about the world around him and the circle of life. However while the movie’s main focus is on the strength of love and its importance to every different stage of life, the book is about the raw power of nature and it’s constant cycles of life and death.
Just as the movie shows how Bambi gains a new understanding about love at each stage of his life the book shows how he begins to understand life and especially death in a new way throughout his life.
There isn’t really any particular storyline that plays out in the book. Instead it’s a series of little things Bambi experiences as he grows up and searches for his father. Felix Salten tries to de-anthropomorphize the animals as best as possible and show how they live, from the relentless fear of hunting parties and the inevitability of death to the joy of fresh grass on the meadow.
One thing that might surprise you to learn is that arguably the most iconic character from the movie isn’t even in the book. Thumper, the beloved baby bunny was added in the place of Gobo, a fawn and friend of Bambi to add some comic relief. While Gobo is sickly, skittish and unlikely to survive very long, Thumper is bubbly, relentlessly happy and energetic. However both of them are inquisitive and eager to learn and experience which is the best way to sum up the link between this book and it’s classic Disney movie.