LEGO Book Roundup: “Architecture: The Visual Guide”, “The LEGO Book”, The Minifigures and Chima Character Encyclopedias [Review]

LEGO recently sent us a stack of books to review and I’ve got four more ready for your viewing pleasure. They are “Architecture: The Visual Guide”, “The LEGO Book (Expanded and Revised Edition”, “The Minifigures Character Encyclopedia” and “The Chima Character Encyclopedia”. Again, if you own one of these books, please leave your thoughts in the comments!

LEGO Architecture: The Visual Guide

Currently available for $22.00, down from $40.00.

The first thing you will notice about this book is that it is very impressive to look at. It is a large hardcover book and comes in an extremely heavy duty slipcover. The slipcover has seven of the LEGO Architecture sets on the from and the cover book itself has the same sets in silhouette. The consists of 232 pages, divided into 28 chapters, not including the Forward and Introduction. The first few chapters are very short (2 pages each) and cover Artist Profiles, a Timeline, the Creative Process, the Development of Falling Water and a Glossary of Pieces.

The remaining chapters cover each of the LEGO Architecture sets and are the real meat of the book. Each of the set chapters follows the same general formula, with a few exceptions. Normally the chapter begins with a two page introduction of the set/project, which covers the importance of the building and interesting notes about its history. The next two pages show the LEGO set from all sides and highlight interesting or unusual techniques that were used to create the building. The third section features a two-page exploded view of the LEGO set. The final two pages of each chapter focus on the actual building, with multiple pictures of it.

I enjoyed the book and I learned quite a bit of trivia about buildings with which I was not familiar. I am not a fan of the LEGO architecture series but I did like this book a lot. It is fun to flip through the pages and glean little bits of information. Plus there is a wealth of information to be found when you sit down and really dig into it.

The book would be a great coffee table edition and non-LEGO people would enjoy looking through it as much as a fan. It is designed for adults, not for kids. Of all the LEGO books I have in my house, my kids have skipped over this one the most. However, it is one of my favorites and is sure to be a great conversation piece. It is the sort of book that non-LEGO friends will open and be surprised at what can be done with LEGO to replicate serious architecture from around the world.

The LEGO Book

Currently available for $17.39, down from $24.99.

This book is a quality hardcover of 255 pages. There is no exclusive minifig offered with this book so no cardboard spacer taking up space between the covers. The quality is high and the book is loaded with gorgeous pictures. It is a book of LEGO eye-candy.

However, the book seems to lack a cohesive structure. It starts with the early beginnings of the LEGO company, which are well-known to most fans by now, and then jumps around talking about various play themes and licenses. It also covers other LEGO-related things, such as fan events, video games and such. The book covers a lot of subjects but it also leaves out a lot. There is a lot reference to the “amazing” story of LEGO but nothing is mentioned about how LEGO almost went under and how it was able to make a comeback against all odds. It gives a false sense that the history of LEGO has been nothing but “unicorns and rainbows”, when the actual history has been a much more interesting roller-coaster ride.

Overall, it is a nice looking book with minimal information. If you want a pretty-looking, basic overview of LEGO, including its history and impact around the world, then you will like this book. If you are looking for something with in-depth information, this book will not meet your needs. I believe it is a great book for an older child, who might be exploring the company and its history for the first time. It might be good for the adult fan who would enjoy looking at all the vintage pictures and taking a trip down memory lane.

LEGO Minifigures: Character Encyclopedia

Currently available for $14.62, down from $18.99.

The book itself is a pretty standard Dorling-Kindersley LEGO offering. It is high quality, 207 pages, comes with an exclusive minifig (more on him later) and has a cardboard spacer, for the minifig, which takes up nearly half the space in between the covers.

However, it is the content of the book that makes it really fun. It covers LEGO’s collectible minifigures from Series 1 through Series 10. Each minifig has a page of it’s own, which has a fun biography of the character, highlights of interesting features, references to other figures that it relates to and behind-the-scenes info about the designers or inside jokes/easter eggs that appear on the character.

The included minifig is really nice and exclusive to this book. He is a Toy Soldier with printed Shako (helmet), musket and windup key on this back. His torso printing is very nice and his pants include printed pinstripes down the sides of his legs. It is a very cool figure and only available with this book. If you want to get all the Collectible Minifigs…you need him too.

Overall, I really like this book. It fun, whimsical and full of humor. Sitting down and flipping through this book is a treat. The kids in your life will love it (my kids keep making off with it) as will those adult fans who still have a sense of fun. If you are looking for a catalog of figures, it would work. But really it’s much more fun than that.

LEGO Legends of Chima: Character Encyclopedia

Currently available for $12.67, down from $18.99.

Our final book for today is another Character Encyclopedia, much others that DK offers. Like the others, this is high quality, includes an exclusive minifigure with a cardboard spacer and consists of 176 pages, which puts it on the short end of Character Encyclopedia’s.

The characters are divided up by tribe, which makes it a bit difficult to find the character you are looking for. I had to keep referring back to the Table of Contents or the Index. Apparently the alphabet doesn’t exist in the Land of Chima. Each character has its own page which covers a basic biography, likes and dislikes as well as interesting features of the figure. One thing that I feel is missing is a data sheet for each character. In other Character Encyclopedia’s they have a data file which lists the set that the character comes in. This is very helpful if you are trying to acquire certain figures. The Chima Encyclopedia has nothing like that.

The exclusive figure, Firox of the Fire Tribe, is well made, but was a bit disappointing. He is nearly identical to another Fire Tribe member, Frax. The only difference is printed goggles on his “helmet” and a different face. The other odd thing is that his face is double sided but both sides appear the same. I thought I was mistaken, so I showed it to five or six other people. We all agreed that both sides are the same. Very strange.

Overall, this book was a bit under-whelming when compared to the other LEGO Character Encyclopedias. However, standing alone, the book is fine. If you have a major Chima fan, they will want this book. It is full of good information on the tribes and characters of Chima. I just think it could have been done better.