LEGO Book Roundup: LEGO Ideas, LEGO Play plus Ninjago and Batman Visual Dictionaries [Review]

This time we have reviews for the last four books from Dorling-Kindersley (DK) that LEGO sent us for Christmas. We’ll be talking about the LEGO Ideas Book, the LEGO Play Book, the Ninjago Visual Dictionary and the Batman Visual Dictionary.

The LEGO Ideas Book

The LEGO Ideas Book is one of my favorites and I recommend it to all new builders regardless of their age. It is a large book of 199 pages and is currently available for $14.09, down from an original price of $24.99. It’s a steal at that price. It is very high quality and is packed with excellent pictures of many different models designed to inspire you to build. The main body of the book consists of six sections, each written by a prominent LEGO builder.

Each chapter begins by showcasing a number of LEGO elements and talking about how they can be useful for that chapter’s theme, while encouraging you to look through your own collection and see how your own pieces can be used for the theme.. Chapters include “Planes, Trains & Automobiles” (Barney Main), “Town and Country” (Deborah Higdon), “Out of this World” (Tim Goddard), “In Days of Old” (Sebastiaan Arts), “A World of Adventure” (Duncan Titmarsh) and “Make and Keep” (Andrew Walker).

This book is full of ideas and techniques that will inspire you to build your own creations. However, do not expect an instruction book. The premise behind this book is not to show you how to build the models shown but to teach you how to look at your pieces differently and see what you can create. This book can bring your building skills up a notch, but it won’t hold your hand.

LEGO Play Book: Ideas to Bring Your Bricks to Life

The LEGO Play Book is the sequel to LEGO Ideas. It is laid out much the same but with new chapters featuring a fresh selection of themes. The book is made up of 199 pages and is currently available for $14.87, down from $24.99. Again, I feel this book is a bargain at that price and would be a good reference for any LEGO builder to have in their collection. Like its predecessor, this book is designed to inspire the reader to dig out parts and pieces from their own collection and see what they can create. It is not an instruction book. It is a book designed to inspire ideas for your to explore on your own.

Again, each chapter was written by a skilled LEGO builder, some of whom wrote chapters for the first book. The chapters include “Once Upon a Time” (Barney Main), “A Small World” (Tim Goddard), “Go Wild” Pete Reid and Yvonne Doyle, “Things that go bump in the night” (Rod Gillies and “Wish You Were Here” (Tim Johnson). Each chapter also features interesting challenge ideas that you can work on by yourself or with friends. The challenges were built by Andrew Walker.

LEGO NINJAGO: The Visual Dictionary (Masters of Spinjitzu)

The Ninjago Visual Dictionary consists of 96 pages and is currently available for $15.17, down from $21.99. Like all the other LEGO Visual Dictionaries, this one comes with a figure (limited edition, in this case) and has a cardboard spacer for the figure that takes up more than half of the space between the covers. The book is high quality and covers the entire Ninjago line through 2014.

It also includes sections on all the main characters and foes, along with sections on the vehicles and locations. There are several comic-type sections and a chapter that talks about the TV series. The pages of available minifigs is very nice and makes a good reference for collectors. If you have Ninjago fans in your house (which I do) this book is a ‘must have’ and is great for younger fans. Other than the sections on the sets and minifigs, the adult fan won’t need to return to this book more than a couple of times. Fans of Ninjago will want it for the limited-edition ‘Zane Rebooted’ figure as well.

LEGO Batman: Visual Dictionary (LEGO DC Universe Super Heroes)

The LEGO Batman Visual Dictionary is very similar to its cousins. It is made up of 96 pages and is available for $16.48, down from $21.99. It comes with an exclusive ‘Electro Suit Batman’, based on a suit available in the LEGO Batman Video Game. Like the other DK books that include an exclusive figure, there is a cardboard spacer. In this case, the spacer takes up nearly two-thirds of the book, making this one of the smaller Visual Dictionaries I’ve looked at.

The book has sections on the main characters and villains, along with sections on the vehicles and the batcave. The is a small section on designing the Batman sets as well as a chapter on the video games. The book concludes with a nice multi-page layout of the minifigs available in the Batman sets. This book is designed for a younger audience and would be very popular with any young super hero fans in your life. My boys loved it. However the adult fan will find little of interest, except perhaps the set and minifig reference material.

4 comments on “LEGO Book Roundup: LEGO Ideas, LEGO Play plus Ninjago and Batman Visual Dictionaries [Review]

  1. Aanchir

    I have two corrections to make: a small one and a big one. The small one is that the “Zane Rebooted” minifigure is not actually exclusive. It’s the exact same minifigure that appears in the Ninja vs. Nindroid activity book ( and in 70726 Destructoid (

    The big one is that the image, link, and price you list for that book do NOT belong to the LEGO Ninjago Visual Dictionary at all! They belong to the LEGO Ninjago Character Encyclopedia, which came out two years ago and includes an exclusive “Green Ninja ZX” minifigure (actually Lloyd in his robes from the 2013 Final Battle arc). The Character Encyclopedia only covers sets and characters up through the 2012 sets, though it includes a teaser for the 2013 sets on one of the final pages.

    Here is the ACTUAL Ninjago Visual Dictionary:

  2. Josh Post author

    @Aanchir – Thanks for pointing out the links. I clicked the wrong one and was writing this without being able to see the pics. It’s been fixed now. You are also correct about the Zan Rebooted figure. It is “Limited Edition” rather than “Exclusive”.

  3. higdond

    i’d like to make a small clarification – the chapter (town and country) i worked on in the lego ideas book was not written by me. i provided the models, and some notes to explain a few things, but as far as i know the book was written by daniel lipkowitz. i can’t speak for the other 5 contributors. thanks for the plug, it’s a great book and it was an honour to be involved in it.

  4. Josh Post author

    @higdond – Hi Deborah! Thank you for the clarification. It is appreciated. I will edit the post later today in order to make that clear.

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