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.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
This tiny but perplexing volume has a small black-and-white sketch of Selma the sheep on the cover, and an even smaller colored sketch of our narrator hound reclining amid a flock of dancing sheep on the end-papers. Seeking from the wise ram the answer to the question bothering him: "What is happiness?" our questioner is told Selma's story. Selma leads a simple life each day of eating, playing with her children, exercising, chatting with a friend, and going to sleep. Asked what she would do if she had more time, or if she had a million dollars, Selma replies that she would simply enjoy more of the same. Whether this fable answers our narrator's puzzlement is a question to discuss. In this hand-sized book with the almost crudely drawn pictures of Selma and the limited cast of characters, tints of color add a touch of appeal. As the verbal story repeats Selma's wishes, the drawings change, perhaps age. The grass grows taller, the nights darker, and so forth, adding to the puzzle of the meaning. And does the last picture of Selma "falling fast asleep" on the last page, this time with legs up in the air instead of under her, mean anything in particular, death perhaps? Lots of room for discussion in this one. 2003 (orig. 2002), Kane/Miller Publishers, Ages 9 to Adult.
— Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz