Felix Salten, Janet Schulman, , adapted by Janet Schulman, read by Frank Dolan. . Audio Bookshelf, $13.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-883332-82-2

In 1999, Schulman adapted Salten's 1923 novel, bringing the original tale of a young deer's coming of age to a generation more familiar with the Disney animated version. Here, the woodland story, considered by many critics to be the first "ecological" novel, springs to life via Dolan's fine reading. Young listeners will be eager to follow along on Bambi's first frolics in the meadow, where he encounters a magpie, grasshoppers, butterflies and dandelions. By then, listeners will be hooked enough to stay with this recording as Bambi takes in stride the important, if somber, life lessons imparted by his mother, all the while trying to understand why "life is so difficult and dangerous." And when hunters encroach, taking his mother from him, Bambi knows he has to follow the advice of the stag known as the Great Prince: "Listen, smell and see for yourself; live by yourself; find out for yourself." Dolan's comfortable storytelling style conveys all the wonder, awe and self-discovery of the material and does not over-sentimentalize the deeper emotional current that comes with encountering death. A wide range of listeners will find much to appreciate in this more serious (compared to Disney's interpretation) look at a beloved children's character. Ages 6-up. (Jan.)