SYNOPSIS: What Happened To Selina Smith by Valentine Williams. A novella for young readers 12 + Based on real events in Market Drayton and surroundings in the 1880s. SELINA SMITH, 13, oldest of four children, leaves school at 13 and attends the May Hiring Fair where she is taken on by MRS RODWAY, the rector's wife, as a laundress, sharing a room with MOLLY. Her mother is ill and her father, a canal worker, cannot earn enough to keep the family. When MRS SMITH dies and the younger children are sent to a relative, SELINA is distraught. Visiting the town is WOMBWELL and BOSTOCK'S TRAVELLING MENAGERIE and to take her mind off her grief, SELINA pays them a visit, where she is comforted by MARCUS ORENZO, the African lion tamer, and BETTY, otherwise known as SERPENTINA, the python handler. Orenzo escorts her home after supper, but she is seen by the housekeeper, MRS BARTON, who does not approve. Arguments follow and the Rodway's son DAVID, causes trouble for her. SELINA realises she can use her laundering and sewing skills in the Menagerie, and she has talent as a contortionist, both of which enable her to be taken on by BOSTOCK, the owner. She develops an act where she gets into a small suitcase and is released by BETTY before handling the pythons. Other exhibitors at the Menagerie are MAJOR MITE TINY, CAPTAIN MURPHY, the giant, SHE, the Australian lion tamer, PROFESSOR LAWRAINE the reptile handler, and RAMASWAMY, the wild man. The python, JEZABEL, eats ALICE the bird woman's, dog, and DAVID, humiliated by ORENZO, tries to set fire to ORENZO'S wagon. Luckily he fails. SELINA is regarded as bringing bad luck to the Menagerie. Travelling to Birmingham with the Menagerie, one of the lions excapes as they are setting up and ORENZO follows it into an open sewer, where, with SELINA'S help, it is enticed back to its cage, but not before it has mauled ORENZO. WALLACE, the oldest lion, dies. The Rodway's son, DAVID, puts in another appearance and there is almost a fight between ORENZO and DAVID. SELINA dares DAVID to enter the lion's cage. There are several incidents where brave young Selina is able to assist her friends when danger threatens, once when the elephant undoes the catch to the lions' cage. She is rewarded by the mayor and BOSWELL for her bravery and is able to go back to see her siblings and pay for their future care. She is reunited with MOLLY. Her father is shamed into being more sober and is reconciled with his daughter. ORENZO has earned enough money to go home, while BETTY decides to retire and the Menagerie is sold off. SELINA finds work in the London theatres as a wardrobe mistress.