SELMA

Jutta Bauer, Author . Kane/Miller $7.95 (56p) ISBN 978-1-929132-50-8

Bauer's hand-size volume delivers big things in a small package. Her pen-and-ink and watercolor wash images framed on creamy pages with generous borders make the perfect accompaniment for her simple message. A world-weary dog, slumped at a table with a half-empty glass of wine, decides to seek out "the wise ram" and asks him, "What is happiness?" The ram answers him with a fable about Selma, a wide-eyed ewe with a big snout. "Every morning at sunrise, Selma would eat a little grass.../...she would play with her children until lunchtime.../ ...exercise in the afternoon," says the ram, unspooling her day at a leisurely pace. The loosely drawn ink cartoon panels, one per spread, glow with gentle tints that mark the passage of the sun across the sky. Foreign elements—the hand of an interviewer, or the tail of a fox—intrude slyly, but Selma stays unruffled, true to her unhurried life, exchanging bleats with her children and chatting with her neighbor. An interviewer holding out a microphone asks Selma what she would do if she had more time or if she won a million dollars. Her answer: she would change nothing ("eat a little grass... play with her children until lunchtime," and so on), though Bauer adds some comic touches to vary the paintings. Selma makes an ideal mascot for living in the moment and for the importance of rituals, in this charming antidote to the clamor of consumerism. All ages. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 08/11/2003
Release date: 09/01/2003
Genre: Children's
Hardcover - 49 pages - 978-607-16-0037-0
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