Monday, November 30, 2009

LEGO Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary

For Nonfiction Monday, a review of Dorling Kindersley's LEGO Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary by Simon Beecroft, who, I am happy to tell you, would be Chewbacca if he were able to be any Star Wars character.

I received a review copy from the publisher and was smitten by the cover. Is it not awesome with it's giganto-Vader? What you cannot tell from looking at the image, however, is that the cover is about half an inch or so thick, because it holds within a little plastic window on the bottom right corner. That's not just an image of a limited-edition Luke Skywalker figure on the front - it's the real deal, and can be removed for LEGO play.

And then I opened the book and I was . . . overwhelmed. Confused, even. The book's pages are chockablock full of excellent photographs of Star Wars LEGO figures and transports and spaceships and Death Stars. It's all organized exceedingly well, by year of release and with information as to which items were limited release, how many are in the wild, and so forth. It's just that there's so very much information and, it being a visual dictionary and all, so very many photographic images that I was boggled by it.

So I did the logical thing, and sent it to my very own testmarket of Star Wars-loving, LEGOS-loving, Star Wars LEGO-loving boys - the children De Groot, whom I will refer to as Obi Wan and Luke for purposes of this review, since I know that their mom doesn't call them by name at her blog. Obi Wan is in 6th grade, whereas Luke is in first, but they can both play happily for hours together with Star Wars LEGOS, so I figured I'd see what the experts had to say.

Both of the young Jedis liked the book. Luke liked it so much, in fact, that he forced encouraged Mr. Big, Angela's husband (yes, I'm mixing my fandoms - what of it?), to read it to him at bedtime, and he evidently spent quite a bit of time toting it around, looking at it and (quite possibly) petting it. The Jedi knights were only too happy to tell me why they liked the book. Quoth Luke: "It's about Star Wars and LEGOS - my two favorite things!" Said Obi Wan (who, being older, spends his time mastering the nuances of the Force, and is therefore less prone to using lots of words): "It has lots of LEGOs in it."

I made an assumption that the limited edition Luke Skywalker figure might be a huge hit, and I was right. I asked both of the Jedi to tell me their three favorite things about the book, and here are their replies:

Luke: 1) "It has lots of facts about the Star Wars story and the LEGOs"; 2) "great pictures showing all different Star Wars LEGOs and especially all the different Star Wars LEGO figures"; and 3) "the free LEGO dude."

Obi Wan: 1) "It has interesting facts"; 2) "it shows lots of LEGO sets and scenarios"; and 3) "it comes with a limited edition LEGO figure."

Both of the Jedi have many LEGOs, including a great number of Star Wars LEGOs, which (they were happy to tell me) were in the book. When asked what they didn't like about the book, neither of the young warriors could come up with a single thing - they liked it all. Both of them said that their friends would definitely like this book.

And there you have it, from the mouth of young Jedi experts. This is the book to buy for LEGO-loving boys come Chanukah or Christmas. It's pretty much a guaranteed hit. The good folks at DK Books have set up a webpage for the book, if you're interested, which includes a sweepstakes to win the book and a Wii bundle including the game system plus the Star Wars: The Complete Saga game just released in October.

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