In this sequel to the original novel Bambi: A Life in the Forest, Bambi's mate Faline guides their twin fauns Gurri (the sister) and Geno (the brother) as they mature and learn about the world around them. In their early days, Faline brings them often to a meadow, where they graze and play with another family of deer: Aunt Rolla and her children Lana (the sister) and Boso (the brother). One day, Gurri is hurt, and a He (a human who happens to be a game warden) takes her home to help her recover. Her family and friends worry that she will become too accostumed to humans and that they will later hurt her, as happened to another deer of the parents' generation. Her visit expands her mind and teaches her many things that she is sometimes hesitatant to share as others can't completely understand. Ultimately, however, after Bambi helps free her, the effects of her stay with the human are not fatal.
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As the seasons change and the fauns grow, they also make friends with a very nervous hare, and discover that the forest squirrels and birds are quite friendly, including the local owl who often offers conflicting adages to help advise their path. Autumn and winter bring fallen leaves, heavy rains, the disappearance of green plants, and snow. The deer frequently eat of the oats left by the game warden. Winter also brings the hunting season and the dreaded “thundersticks.” The parents do their best to keep their children hidden and safe; Bambi in particular finds an out of the way corner for Faline, Gurri, and Geno. Game birds seem to be the hardest hit, and though some deer die, all named deer survive.
Spring brings fresh food, a cease-fire, and young for many forest creatures. Yet a teenaged boy with an important father decides to cause trouble. His father puts pressure on the game warden to give him hunting lessons. The game warden teaches the boy how to use a gun, but does not give him permission to go shoot animals, as it is not the season and would disturb them as they raise their young. The boy does so anyway – on several occasions – and is determined to bring down a deer. He brings down one that is too young, bringing himself trouble from the warden. Then he goes after Rolla, is distracted by Geno, and goes after him instead – also too young. Faline thinks Geno dead and bears a grudge against Rolla. Bambi saves Geno, however, and the families make up. Then the boy kills Até, a young deer who is interested in Gurri. The forest animals mourn; the forest warden rebukes the boy again, who tells his father and finds himself in trouble with his father, too. So he does not return. Around this time, a fox causes some trouble also after a heron, feeling threatened, pokes his eye out. Bambi watches carefully, and when the time is ripe, confronts the fox, convincing him to back off.
In addition to Até's interest in Gurri, Geno has developed interest in Lana. Boso developed resentment towards Geno while the two families were unfriendly, and they fought, against Geno's will. When the families resolve their differences, however, Geno and Lana are free to become closer again. With Até gone, Boso also shows his interest in Gurri, which she accepts. Bambi, Faline, and Rolla realize they are grown up and ready to live on their own, and so send them on their way towards independence. Faline concludes that this is the bittersweet fate of all parents, and that the better the children, the more bittersweet it will be.
Best part of story, including ending:
I liked the personification of animal characters and imagining of their perspective, as well as their roles. Bambi was not always visible, but was present. The animals knew he would be in and out, working to watch out for them, protect them, and institute justice. And he maintains and has a high character standard for his children.
Best scene in story:
When Gurri is recovering at the game warden's house, she begins to be able to see things from different perspectives, especially when she speaks with a captive owl the warden keeps to lure game birds. Normally, this type of owl would not have been a friend in the forest, unlike the free forest owl who constantly cites proverbs. I was glad to see afterwards, however, that her experiences did not tame her so much as to endanger her.
Opinion about the main character:
Geno and Gurri are both curious but each has their own character. They also respect their parents and the creatures around them, and are more forgiving even than their mother, Faline. They clearly value the social aspect of their relationship with Lana and Boso than any grudges their mother might harbor.