This is one of those books that should eventually find a place on the shelf beside Selma Lagerlof, but that are unlikely to get an immediate recognition and sale. Martin can write (is this a first book?). But he has no sense of plot. The story is built around nine year old Selma Jacobson, and one sees her family, the Norwegian farm community and small Wisconsin town, the people -- and the tragedies and dramas that stir the people deeply, all as they affect Selma. Childhood joys and sorrows loom large on her horizon, but they can be healed by strawberry sodas and a new bicycle. Nostalgic impressions of childhood, more or less contemporary; regional background handled in an original way; a tender episodic story, which shows promise of a future for its author, but is unlikely to produce much fanfare at the moment.