Bambi: Disney Classics is a charming retelling of this classic story that children and their adults will greatly enjoy, complete with vintage illustrations and a lovely Disney musical score.
What I appreciate the most with this version of such a classic story is how very family-friendly it is. Until now, Bambi is not a movie that I have shown to my son as the idea of Bambi’s mother being killed by hunters, along with the forest fire, would be too stressful for my sensitive boy.
I enthusiastically accepted the chance to review this application, but I hid it on an iPad that my son does not have unsupervised access to - unlike the one fully loaded with kid-safe apps that my son has full freedom with, as I did not want him to wander into an application which might cause him needless worry or to sleep badly at night.
I am excited to announce how happy I was to read this application and to find this version of Bambi without any dark material whatsoever.
Many elements are still included from the Bambi that parents remember, such as the cast of friendly animal characters and the episodic coming-of-age moments as Bambi grows from a baby into an older deer able to venture out on his own, making this an utterly relatable tale where one gets to witness such moments as Bambi’s first spoken word and beginning use of language in a most tender way.
I admire how subtly sophisticated the included vintage illustrations are, filling up the page with drawn elements until the image is complete, sometimes also including a pan or zoom to create movement or focus the reader's attention - all elements that will not register with young readers, yet will still seem more engaging than a stagnant page within a story of equal length.
Simple, sweet, animated moments are also included which bring life to this story without ever being over the top or distracting in any way which all ages can’t help but be smitten by.
One has the choice to read this story, create their own recording or listen to professional narration, following along with highlighted text. The included narration is especially good here, nicely articulated to aid young readers at following along without any hint of condescension that I sometimes hear with other narrations which try hard to be easily understand.
It is not uncommon these days to find a few extras attached to a storybook application. This is the case with Bambi as well, here including coloring pages where one gets to fill in a nice selection of colorless drawings from the story with a good selection of colors using a fine pencil point or thicker paintbrush tip, each including four specific sizes. An eraser is also included, but I do wish this tool also included different sizes as well.
One is also given the chance to tap to zoom into these images to work on smaller details, as well as continued taps that move one to other close-up sections of the chosen image. I appreciate the ability to get close - a necessity when it comes to effectively using the paint bush method of coloring, but I do wish that in the zoomed mode, one could simple swipe a finger to navigate the page instead of tapping to be brought around the page. When complete, users are also able to save work to the camera roll on their device as well as email to others.
It does not surprise me that a “memory” style game is also included - a staple among extras. I do enjoy here how the animations used are in keeping with the period look of this application. To play, tap flower buds for them to momentarily open, displaying their petal colors inside. I enjoy the detailed animation that went into the opening of each bud, especially as different styled flowers are used - a nice touch, as is the Disney score players listen to while playing this matching game.
Another extra is dedicated to music - a great choice as the music found in Disney movies is always a draw in and of itself. Three modes are included as one gets to listen, learn and have a chance at free play involving a lovely musical score, tapping flower petals, rain drops and flying birds to add musical elements to the background music.
The Listening section allows children to see the flower buds and other details highlighted when played, while the Learning section allows children to see the highlighting as cues to tap to play along as well as to improvise as they see fit. The Play section lets children experiment making music on their own without any background music. I do think it would be a nice option to include the background music as well within the free-play section.
It is possible that a cynic or a purist could accuse this version of Bambi as sanitized, but I greatly welcome a version of this classic tale that I can share with my son without any violence or scary moments. I am sure other families feel the same. Because of this, I recommend Bambi: Disney Classics whole-heartily for all ages.