written and illustrated by Jutta Bauer
Kane/Miller Book Publishers
ISBN: 1-929132-50-6
All Ages

It’s a “quiet” story. But quiet and gentle are what children yearn for. In their fast - paced lives of soccer games, dance classes, and play dates a quiet book is a welcome respite.

SELMA, written and illustrated by Jutta Bauer is no bigger than an index card, yet it packs a whopping, powerful punch. How can a tiny sheep know about happiness?

What is happiness anyway? It’s an age – old question. Is it having a million dollars, or two, or three? Is it traveling to far off exotic islands? Or maybe it’s being able to eat all the ice cream you want, chocolate, of course, and never, ever gaining an ounce?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are not so different from most people.

It seems that everyone, in his or her quest for happiness, is always searching . . . searching around every corner. But maybe happiness is not as far away as we think. We can take a lesson from Selma. Selma is content. She is happy with the simple pleasures of life. She eats a little, plays with her children, eats a little more, exercises, visits with a friend, and then gets a good night’s sleep. What more could anyone want?

In our hustle bustle world of always wanting more and bigger and better, Selma leaves us with some whopping, powerful thoughts to ponder.

This review can also be seen on: SmartWriters
FROM the MOUTHS of KIDDLE CRITers: a critique group

“Selma is a very tiny sheep,” said Felino.

“She loved to eat grass and play with her children, and talk to Mrs. Miller,” said Meg.

“It made me laugh because Selma did the same things,” said Zach.

“She did the same things every day,” said Felino.

“Yeah,” said Pritka, “She had a routine . . . eat some grass, exercise, play with her children in the afternoon, eat more grass, talk to Mrs. Miller, and sleep.”

“It’s sort of like the chronology of her whole day,” said Lucy.

Hannah nodded. “Yeah, like a time line,” she said.

“Well, if I were Selma, I wouldn’t eat grass all day. I wouldn’t do the same things over and over again because I would go crazy,” said Keisha.

“Selma was having fun with whatever she was doing,” said Lucy, “But if I were to do all those things, I would be very bored.”

“What would you do if you had a whole day?” Zach asked.

It didn’t take Meg long to answer. “If I had all the time in the world,” she said, “I would go in the pool or play outside in the snow.”

“I would wake up in the morning,” said Pritka, “ Get dressed, go to school, and go to critique . . . every day.”

“What would you do if you had a million dollars?” asked Meg.

“Hmmm,” said Felino.

“Well, I would eat a little grass,” said Juan with a smirk.

Everyone laughed.

Then Zach jumped in. “If I had a million dollars, I’d buy a toy store and everything in it,” he said.

“But, I can understand why Selma was doing the things over and over again,” said Hannah, “She doesn’t really have a lot of things to do. She just has a big piece of land . . . and that’s basically it.”

“Yeah,” said Keisha, “She started out with a happy life and she wanted a happy life, so she decided to do it every day.”

“I think she thinks she is having all the happiness that she wants,” said Hannah.

“And the important thing is that it is making her happy,” said Keisha.



Tick! Tick! Tock!
Hear the minutes of the clock.
Tock! Tock! Tick!
Sometimes slow! Sometimes quick!

In SELMA, time seems to move slowly. It’s calm. It’s relaxed.

Children will become more aware of passing time as they construct a chart of their own day’s schedule with this activity, called TIME is A-PASSING.

First, try it with Selma’s day.

6:00 am . . . . . . eat a little grass.
8:00 am . . . . . . play with her children.
12:00 am . . . . . eat a little more grass.
1:00 pm . . . . . . exercise.
5:00 pm . . . . . . eat some more grass.
7:00 pm . . . . . . chat with a friend.
9:00 pm . . . . . . go to sleep.

Next, give each child a blank page with the hourly times listed. Children fill in the slots next to the times with activities that make up their days.

7:00 am . . . . . . wake up, dress, eat breakfast
8:00 am . . . . . . go to school
9:00 am . . . . . . read
10:00 am. . . . . .play language arts games
11:00 am . . . . . listen to science lesson
12:00 pm . . . . . eat lunch, go to recess
Etc. . . .

Now get carried away and BUILD-A-DREAM-DAY!

Give each child another blank page with the hourly times listed. Ask them to build their “Dream Day.” Get crazy! Get Wild!

7:00 am . . . . . . eat ice cream for breakfast
8:00 am . . . . . . go to circus
9:00 am . . . . . . fly kites
10:00 am . . . . . ride bikes
Etc. . . .


THE WEBSTER’S CHILDREN’S THESAURUS defines happiness as joy, delight, enjoyment, pleasure, and bliss. SELMA is all of this.


Have children sit in a circle on the floor. They take turns stating one thing that makes them happy. Then they ask another child what makes them happy.

TEACHER: It makes me happy when all my students are here. ZIA, what makes you happy?

ZIA: It makes me happy when I can play in the park. PETE, what makes you happy?

PETE: It makes me happy when . . .


OLIVIA by Ian Falconer
TELL ME SOMETHING HAPPY BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP by Joyce Dunbar, illustrated by Debi Gliori
SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL by Sharon Dennis Wyeth, illustrated by Chris K. Soentpiet
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