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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Jørn's Magnificent Imagination by Coral Vass


Was it a sailboat, a seashell, a swan, or an orange peel that inspired Jørn Utzon to design Australia’s most recognisable building? Readers follow Utzon through childhood as he discovers his love of building and creating, gathering ideas from everything around himself.

When he grows bigger, so do his ideas, and something begins to take shape… can you guess what it might be?

Written in honour of the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Sydney Opera House, Jørn's Magnificent Imagination is a story about embracing your dreams, believing in your abilities, and about the power of new ideas.


The story is also a great starting point for teachers and families to look at how the landmark came to be.


Author Coral Vass celebrates Utzon, showing children there are no limits to their dreams. She highlights that creativity and imagination is valued and important.

Vass uses very few words to convey the story, allowing illustrator Nicky Johnston space to contribute to the storytelling.


She creates somewhat of an architectural feel to the book - using papers of different textures and colours. There's a limited colour palette for paint and pencil, while there are fascinating individual dry point etchings that make it feel like you're peeking inside Utzon's own sketchbook.


This is a great book to begin to explore STEAM with younger readers (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Maths). This learning space sets up our younger generation to be problem solvers, creators, and innovators.


Vass and Johnston will inspire curiosity, and empower readers to ask thought-provoking questions that promote creativity and exploration with this interesting picture book based on a renowned architect.


Reviewer: Rebekah Lyell

EK Books

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