He even collected ideas from his orange peels at breakfast!
It’s also the story of how ultimately, he enters and wins a competition to design and build our iconic Sydney Opera House.
The architect’s gift to society is to bring joy to the people from the surroundings they create.
We see so many ways in which young Jørn could potentially be thwarted and give up, but he obviously is not and does not (in the long term, at least!). Other people’s opinions of his work aren’t always kind, but it seems that Jørn is able to believe in himself and his dreams enough to follow through on his ideas, regardless of what others think – which is perhaps a life lesson for us all.
Nicky Johnston’s pencil illustrations are gorgeous as ever, divinely expressive and perfect for this work. The cover gives us a clear indication of what’s inside, with its hand-drawn lettering and young Jørn happily clutching compass, pencil and ruler. The front endpapers with their torn pictures depict orange peels, shapes, buildings, flowers, shells, and patterns that eventually all contribute to the design of the building that we know and love. My very favourite illustration is of the fist-pumping Jørn when he finally creates his masterpiece. It’s pure joy.
The back endpapers contain a beautifully rendered pencil timeline of Utzon’s life, which offers useful information for school projects and research. And of course, to provide the impetus to look further into this interesting and colourful life.
A wonderful true story. Highly recommended.
Title: Jørn’s Magnificent Imagination
Author: Coral Vass
Illustrator: Nicky Johnston
Publisher: EK, $24.99
Publication Date: October 2022
For ages: 4 – 8
Type: Picture Book