By Felix Salten
Remember the guy who wrote Bambi? (It was a good story before Disney got ahold of it. But that’s a discussion for another time.) Did you know Felix Salten wrote two other books, Renni the Rescuer and A Forest World? We’ve read both. Both are just as good – or maybe better – than Bambi. Today we’re focusing on the latter title.
A Forest World isn’t necessarily a quick read by modern day standards. But it’s a good one. Here’s why:
The animals narrate their own story. They fall into two main camps: The domesticated barnyard animals of Lodge Farm and the wild creatures of the surrounding forest. The former includes Lisa the cow. The two stable horses, Witch and Devil, and a sweet, wise donkey, Manni. Forest creatures include the great stag Tambo, lord of the forest, Debina, his mate, and Genina and her two fawns.
The two worlds exist next to each other, but they are far apart. The two groups begin to interact as Manni the donkey wanders into the forest for an adventure while Genina and her young seek safety and shelter from poachers in the barn.
The precious freedom prized by the forest animals is accompanied by inherent risks and myriad dangers. While the barn animals know safety and comfort, they don’t know the freedom of the wilds, either. Will the animals choose to stay in their new lives? Or will the call of home be too great?
A strong current of kindness and respect flows throughout the story, which is told by animals both tame and wild. (Yep, there’s lots of anthropomorphism here. But remember two things: 1) It’s 1942, and 2) It’s fiction. So lighten up, okay?)
Kimber: A Forest World may be one of the best animals stories one of us ever missed. I mean, it’s only been around for like, a zillion years. Mom’s nothing if not quick. Yeah, she’s a sucker for anything dog-ish. But artfully crafted, well-written animal stories get high marks, too. A Forest World is one of these.
A Good Choice
If you’re looking for an uplifting, gentle read from yesteryear that’s retained its freshness over time, A Forest World is a good choice.
Our Rating: 4.0
Have you ever found additional titles by a favorite author you didn’t know they’d written?
Farm image credit: Public domain