7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #717: Featuring Seou Lee

h1 November 15th, 2020 by jules

Let’s take a look at a picture book debut, shall we? Seou Lee is an author and animator, and thanks to Arthur Levine’s new imprint, Levine Querido, we get to see her try her hand at picture books. Bye, Penguin! (October, 2020), orginally published in Korea, is a (nearly) wordless adventure — a penguin’s inadvertent (but very thrilling) one.

“Snick!” The ice floe upon which a small penguin stands breaks, sending the penguin off into the water. Sailing away, unwittingly, from his penguin cohorts—in one particular spread, Lee uses abundant white space to great effect to show us the poor creature’s isolation—the penguin wipes away a tear. But it turns out that the penguin, floating across the world on this sheet of ice, has the chance to see some truly wonderful things — a glowing green aurora of lights; the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil; the Sydney Opera House; the Statue of Liberty; and much more. Delights in nature and delights made at the hands of humans: These are the things the penguin takes in (with big eyes) on this unexpected yet incredible journey.

But ice melts. Oh, no. But! Fear not. The penguin has a clever solution for getting back home, which I won’t ruin for you.

Lee makes smart choices about composition and space here. She also plays with perspectives: In more than one spread, we get an aerial view of things, which emphasizes the smallness of our protagonist. Her palette is spare, making the aurora spread all the more outstanding. We also see rich ocean blues; the green of Lady Liberty; and pops of red at the book’s close. The penguin is particularly expressive; Lee pulls off a lot with his eyes and body language — she communicates a great deal of emotion with simple digital lines.

And if, like me, you really miss travel during this pandemic, well … this one makes for a good, if slightly bittersweet, read.

Here are a few spreads so that the art can do the talking. …


(Click spread to enlarge)


(Click spread to enlarge)


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(Click cover to enlarge)


BYE, PENGUIN! Text and illustrations copyright © 2020 Seou Lee. Originally published in Korea by BookGoodCome. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Levine Querido.

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’s Kicks * * *

1) Biden and Kamala!

2) Getting past a loooong work week …

3) … and learning new things, while doing so.

4) Madison Cunningham’s new EP, including this cover:



5) This season of Star Trek: Discovery just keeps getting better.

6) Long walks.

7) Learning about this poem, written by a classmate in one of my copyediting classes.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

9 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #717: Featuring Seou Lee”

  1. WOW, Jules, that’s Some Classmate! But then she’s lucky to have you, too…

  2. Bye, Penguin…oh my such adventures. I love the illustrations.
    Jules, Biden and Harris, yes. That poem, swoon.
    My kicks:
    1. Georgia Heard’s Poet Studio class on figuring out a poetry collection.
    2. Emily Whitman’s writing class for revising my WIP.
    3. Scottish Gaelic lessons.
    4. This week I start a start on Island of the Blue Dolphins, the real story…about all the archaeological information that updates the story.
    5. Grandgirl turns 16 this week. Having dinner tonight with her.
    6. Making graham cracker pie for her birthday.
    7. A quick overnight get away.
    Have a great week.

  3. Hi Imps! Hi Penguin! Hi Seou Lee!

    Jules: Is it January 20th yet? I hope this coming week treats you better. 🙂

    Jone: What an eventful week! Hope she has a great birthday. Enjoy the classes and the writing!

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Breathing easily
    2) Sleeping in
    3) Good food
    4) Clear skies
    5) Warm blankets
    6) Good session
    7) Good feedback

  4. That first picture with the fish in his mouth is so funny and charming! Really love the adventure of these illustrations and this story.

    Jules – Hooray for Biden & Harris! And getting through a long week with long walks and good music. That poem, wow.

    Jone – happy birthday to the grand girl! Graham cracker pie – yum. Yay for short getaways!

    Little Willow – breathing easily and sleeping in are simply wonderful kicks! With good food and clear skies, sounds like an amazing week.

    My kicks this week:
    1) Having hope for more people believing in science.
    2) The feeling of a collective giant sigh of relief that in turn leads to feeling ‘unstuck.’
    3) A fall/winter cleaning out of closets and bookshelves.
    4) Reorganizing and rearranging rooms.
    5) Surprises in the mail, sending them and getting them!
    6) Movie score playlist crowd sourced by Rachel Syme & now up on Spotify is very soothing: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/6lwboWfQrKEouaU04BBlIK?si=USVjmv3TRxSRXbCV4cy0Tw
    7) Having 24 hours of worry about a potential health issue for Daisy because of a young, overzealous (but well-meaning & well-intentioned) veterinarian. The kick is the relief and gratitude of lab results, and having had enough experience to know not to panic. She has a growth, she’s going to get it removed, its NOT cancer. Yay!
    7.5) Daisy. I feel so very fortunate to such a fun and funny companion during this time of social distancing and WFH. While she is certainly not always a good dog, she is always a good friend.

    Have a great week imps! Stay safe!

  5. Hi, Mary!

    Jone, happy birthday to your granddaughter! Love all the writing you’re doing.

    LW: I love feedback, even when it’s constructive (especially when it’s constructive).

    Rachel: Oh my, I’m glad Daisy is okay! And I’ll have to check out that playlist. Looooove that first kick. (And His Dark Materials is tonight, but we can’t watch it till tomorrow night. Wah!)

    Have a good week, you all!

  6. Daisy: I’m so glad you are okay!
    Rachel: I’m so glad Daisy is okay.
    Rachel and Jules: Here’s to science!

  7. I love Rachel’s phrase: “While she is certainly not always a good dog, she is always a good friend.”

    Something to aspire to and work at.

    1. for Jules… doing the work, knitting most of it together into a beautiful wholeness.
    2. Leaves to rake and all that that might imply.
    3. woodstove, wine
    4. old letters found.
    5. a new book to illustrate… waiting to get started.

  8. NEW book from Rob is now my 8th kick!

  9. Jules and Little Willow – thanks for caring about Daisy. : )

    Rob – that phrase sums up my favorite type of dog companion – mostly good, but with enough of a personality and smarts to occasionally cause a little mischief.
    A woodstove and wine is a lovely November kick and hooray for new books to illustrate!

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