Bismarck man publishes book based on story he made up 20 years ago

Published: Jul. 12, 2020 at 3:26 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) -The drive from Bismarck to Grand Forks is long and sometimes boring, especially if you're a kid.

Twenty years ago, Brian Selzler found a way to help his then five-year-old daughter pass the time. Inspired by the Buffalo Alice sign on Interstate 94, he made up a story about a girl named Alice and her pet buffalo. Now that story is available for kids everywhere to read.

“She brings him into the barn to feed him and warm him up,” explained Bismarck author and illustrator Brian Selzler. “The other animals aren’t too thrilled about it.”

This is the story of a girl named Alice, and her pet buffalo, Bart. It's a story Selzler made up on the spot more than 20 years ago.

“When there were no iPads or laptops, we were on our way to Grand Forks in the winter. Our five-year-old daughter in the back seat asked me, ‘Who is Buffalo Alice?’ when she saw the sign. So, I made up the story,” said Selzler. “The longer we drove, the longer the story got.”

In the story, Alice and Bart disappear, never to be seen again. But legend has it, if you look very closely, you might catch a glimpse of them.

“That’s why it’s important to keep looking out the car window for three hours,” laughed Selzler.

That kept his daughter, Chelsey, entertained the entire drive.

“Every 15 minutes she would exclaim, ‘I think I saw her!’ When we got home I scribbled up a sketch book with the story in it and within months that got destroyed and lost and completely forgotten about,” he recalled.

But Chelsey remembered the story; now a mom herself, she asked her dad to put the story on paper for her young son. Selzler, a trained commercial artist, got to work.

“I spent probably eight hours on each illustration,” he said.

The project quickly snowballed into something much bigger.

“It’s gotten a little out of hand,” he laughed.

Brian printed 500 copies of the book.

“The plan wasn’t to publish a book to make money. The plan was to make a book for my five grandchildren,” stated Selzler.

But he says, he's happy to have this story on paper and to share it with others.

“With fortitude and perseverance, Alice is going to make it back,” Selzler said.

Character traits that are still relevant today, more than two decades after Selzler first dreamed up the story of Buffalo Alice.

You can purchase a copy of “Buffalo-Alice” at Superior Silk Screen in Bismarck, or online at

Selzler plans to donate several copies of his book to the Bismarck Public Library and to local elementary schools. And stay tuned; he's already thinking of a second book to continue the Buffalo Alice story.

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