BOOK REVIEW: John Lennon and Jean Jullien - Imagine

BOOK REVIEW: John Lennon and Jean Jullien - Imagine 1

The 1971 hit “Imagine” is probably the most globally recognised solo hit by John Lennon following his career with The Beatles. Whilst Oasis used the hook/riff from “Imagine”, the message of peace and to desist from conflict (albeit indirectly) also came across in the title of Oasis’ second UK number one single “Don’t Look back in Anger”.

There is something everlasting about “Imagine” musically and lyrically with the poignancy of the message it aims to get across. What is equally impressive is how “Imagine” does all this using seldom more than one hundred words.  A new children’s book published by Lincoln Children’s Books using Lennon’s original lyrics with Jean Jullien’s illustrations, tells a new, exciting and humbling story of “Imagine”.

As opposed to the biblical dove, the common pigeon is the main character and superhero of the story. “Imagine” begins with a pigeon exiting a packed busy train station carrying a satchel with a CND badge attached to it containing several olive branches. On its travels, this humble pigeon resolves a conflict between two aggressive seagulls fighting over a fish. The seagulls are not only grateful but elated by the pigeons’ intervention.  The pigeon then builds a happy collective and family of birds of all varieties and colours to live happily ever after “as one”.

As identified, there is barely over one hundred words to “Imagine” and whilst the lyrics are everlasting; many would question if there is enough content for a stand-alone book. There is. This book is genuinely universal and should and can be read repetitively. One will always discover something new they had not previously come across. The simple and basic, but all empowering illustrations by Jullien add to the sacrosanctity of Lennon’s masterpiece by injecting enlightenment into the souls of the characters in “Imagine”.

Whilst there have been some global events and developments which appear to undermine the underlying message of “Imagine”; the business world is actually looking towards Lennon and “Imagine” for advice and direction. A recent article in City AM entitled “In a Global World, Citizenship Is about Far More Than Where You Were Born” explains “Today, most millennials don’t identify with the nation-state. Research shows that more and more young people believe themselves to be “citizens of the world”, identifying predominantly with values and issues that don’t follow boundaries on a map. In the online communities we increasingly belong to, where you are from is less important than what you believe, and far less important than what you want to do with your life.” Thus the legacy of “Imagine” is still alive and this new book (as well as being entertaining and tear-jerking) is a vital reference point for humanity.

Like “We’re Going to be Friends” by Jack White with illustrations by Elinor Blake and “Outlaw Pete” by Bruce Springsteen with illustrations by Frank Caruso (both reviewed by XS Noize); “Imagine” is universally accessible and an essential read which gets its message across in less than half the words of the former and less than a quarter of the words of the latter. As well as a touching foreword from Yoko Ono Lennon; there are also important lessons in the afterword. Furthermore, all royalties from the sale of “Imagine” are donated to Amnesty International.


To buy a copy of “Imagine” please visit

For further information about “Imagine” and to read messages of peace from around the world and share your own, please visit

To find out more about Lincoln Children’s Books please visit



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