7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #703: Featuring Jutta Bauer

h1 August 9th, 2020 by jules

“… play with my children …”
(Click to see spread in its entirety)


I don’t want to say too much about today’s book, a German import written and illustrated by Jutta Bauer. And that’s because Selma (Gecko Press), coming to shelves next month, is a slim, small book, and I don’t want to steal from you the wonders of reading it for the first time. And it’s a small book that asks a big question: What is happiness?

Selma the sheep has her basic needs met (spends her morning eating a little grass); enjoys her children and spends time with them; stays active and is healthy (she runs and jumps through grassy fields); has at least one friend (Mrs. Miller, the vulture); and gets plenty of sleep. If she had more time in life, she reports that she would do the same. If she won a million dollars? Why, she’d still do the same. (The Publishers Weekly review of this one calls it a “charming antidote to the clamor of consumerism.” Yes. That!)

All of this is laid out in a satisfying, perfectly paced text that uses repeition to make its point — and kicks off with a dog asking a question of a “wise ram.” The illustrations are dryly humored and subtly layered (with the inclusion of the aforementioned dog and a fox). There’s much humor in Bauer’s pen and ink and watercolor artwork with their muted colors; much of this humor is in Selma’s expressive face, but throw in the hand of a reporter, holding a mic, to ask Selma if she’d be happier under what most people would perceive as better conditions. These moments of absurdity also make me laugh.

Bonus: There’s a lot in this story about contentment that will resonate with the adults sharing it with children.

Here are some spreads from this pithy and thought-provoking little treatise on the state of well-being so that you can get a sense of the book, but I highly recommend you find your own copy on library or bookstore shelves.



“Once there was a sheep named Selma.”
(Click to see spread in its entirety)


“… exercise in the afternoon …”
(Click to see spread in its entirety)


“… have a little chat with Mrs. Miller
in the evening …”

(Click to see spread in its entirety)


“Asked what she would do
if she had more time,
Selma replied …”

(Click to see spread in its entirety)


“… and finally, fall fast asleep.”
(Click to see spread in its entirety)



SELMA. Text and illustrations (new edition) © 2017 LAPPAN Verlag, an imprint of CARLSEN Verlag GmbH, Hamburg, Germany. First published in Germany under the title Selma. This edition first published in 2018 by Gecko Press. English-language edition © Gecko Press Ltd 2006, 2018. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher.

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

This past week has been an unusually long and tiring one. But much like Selma, my kicks are my health, happiness, and family. This book, in fact, makes me think of the way my husband sees the world, and it’s good to have a partner like that.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

13 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #703: Featuring Jutta Bauer”

  1. This looks amazing. We need to get it! Thanks for posting.

  2. I think everyone needs to read this book right now. So needed in the world.
    Jules, I get the long and tiring week. I hope this week goes better surrounded by all the important things.
    My kicks:
    1. Beach time with family.
    2. Beach fire with marshmallows.
    3. Book store trip with the grand girls.
    4. Pizza and wine at a winery.
    5. It’s sort of dark but watching the Helter Skelter documentary is fascinating. I lived seven miles from Spahn Ranch.
    6. The Summer Poetry Swap…sending and receiving.
    7. Reading on the deck.
    Have a good week.

  3. Jone, such relaxing kicks! I miss bookstores. I wasn’t aware of that documentary. I recently finished I’ll Be Gone in the Dark and might need to take a break from murder docs, but I’ll remember this for future viewing.

    Being at a beach right about now would be soooo lovely.

  4. Hello Imps! Hello Jutta and Selma and company! I hope you are all finding and enjoying things that make you happy.

    Jules: Waving hello to your husband!

    Jone: Glad that you have time with your family, and poetry.

    My kicks:
    1) New songs
    2) Favorite songs
    3) Discussions with friends about things we both like
    4) Being present
    5) Holding boundaries
    6) Doing your best
    7) Groceries

  5. Little Willow: I’m glad you had a good week. What’s your favorite song in the whole world? If I absolutely had to pick, I’d probably pick “Stardust.”

  6. Love this book and the question it is asking. This is definitely a good time to ask such big questions.(I also really love the illustration of Selma with the microphone in her face, as well as her chat with Mrs. Miller.)

    Jules – sorry it was such a long week, but hooray for kicks of health, happiness, family, and a partner who sees things a little differently than you do.

    Jone – yay for the beach with family, beach fires and trips to bookstores. Pizza and wine is such a perfect pairing.

    Little Willow – yay for songs, boundaries, good discussions and groceries!

    My kicks this week:
    1) Salads with tomato, basil and lettuce from my garden.
    2) Reading “Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope”
    by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn and it is riveting. Explains economics so well for someone like me, who is somewhat ignorant of it, and does a great job showing the real people impacted by the policies so it resonates even more. It is also by turns infuriating and sad. (Like when it explains Amazon paid no federal income tax in 2018 despite $11.2 billion in profits, and instead got a $129 million dollar ‘rebate’ on taxes it didn’t pay.) Important book.
    3) Walks around Mt Tabor with a friend.
    4) Morning walk at Fernhill Wetlands today, where I’d never been before. Its a nature preserve that is also part of a waste treatment project (more info here: https://fernhillnts.org/) and was really peaceful, beautiful, full of birds and wildlife, and a great place to experience nature while social distancing. (We only saw maybe 8 people in the course of an hour.)
    5) Stopping at a small farm afterwards to buy fresh produce. Bought some corn and squash and 8 Ball zucchini.
    6) Stopping again at a bigger farm/nursery to have a snack of berries and buy some plants and fruit.
    7) Daisy being happy to see me when I got home and hanging out with me in the back yard.
    7.5) Listening to Michelle Obama’s podcast. Its a good podcast, and its so nice to hear her warm, smart, kind, voice, especially now.

    Jules – Stardust is a pretty perfect song. I don’t know if I could pick just one song, but if pressed my pick might be Dream a Little Dream. I’ve seen 3 eps of I’ll be Gone in the Dark, and I’d read the book when it came out, but the docuseries says so much about Patton and Michelle’s marriage that is so beautiful.

    Have a good week everyone, hoping everyone is staying safe and well.

  7. Rachel, thanks for the book recommendation! You ate good food this week. I’m looking at the Fernhill link now, and it’s beautiful. I’m glad for the reminder about Michelle’s podcast. My podcast-listening is being challenged, now that I’m not driving the girls daily to school. But I’ll do my best to listen. I really want to.

    I’m hoping I can embed this song for you. It’s a wonderful cover:

  8. Jules! What a gorgeous cover! Just added her to my artists on Spotify. What version of Stardust is your favorite?

  9. Probably when Hoagy Carmichael sings it, circa 1961.

  10. Jules, I read I’ll Be Gone in the Dark as well as Lost Girls…I have to read other things in between. Both of these are on HBO (I’ll Be Gone) and Netflix (Lost Girls).
    LW, curious about your new songs
    Rachel, am checking out this https://fernhillnts.org/

  11. My latest 7 Kicks

    1. Writing short poems
    2. Push-ups
    3. Cherry Coke
    4. Dead to Me
    5. Podcasts at 1.5 speed
    6. #adoptastate #wisconsin
    7. Living room dance parties

  12. Kevin! A new kicker!

    These are mighty intriguing kicks. I like them. Cherry Coke is my favorite. I miss being in a restaurant and splurging (because, yeah, it’s so sugary) on a Coke with grenadine. Living room dance parties. YES.

  13. Oh, I have a LOT of favorite songs, Jules. A lot. 🙂

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