This long-awaited book was released in the UK this week (although it's been available in other places for some time) and I now have my hands on a copy.
It is similar to LEGO Star Wars, the Visual Dictionary, both in size and content. It's about 2cm thick, 96-pages long and follows DK's trademark page layout of full colour photography on a clean white background with minimal text. It comes with an exclusive minifig, Harry Potter in formal dress robes, that is mounted in the front cover of the book.
However, there is a difference between this and the SW book and that is that this one appears to be complete: every set and every minifig is featured which is something that wasn't possible in the SW one because of the number of sets and figures.
Like the SW book, there's a timeline at the front showing all the sets and when they were released, from 2001 right up to the three sets that have just hit the shelves.
The bulk of the book then covers a single topic per double page, either featuring a minifig (e.g. Harry Potter), a scene or location (e.g. Hagrid's Hut) or a specific set (e.g. Durmstrang Ship). 'Data file' boxes on the pages provide details about the sets illustrated such as number of parts, year released, minifigs included and so on. Nothing you can't find out here at Brickset but it's nice to have it in book form.
The last section 'Beyond the Brick' features an interview with the LEGO design team, and sections on the Harry Potter computer games, merchandise (key rings, etc.) and finally, right at the back, a gallery showing every minifigure. I'm not sure that it's entirely accurate since I've spotted an error already: Harry Potter from Privet Drive (4728) is shown with tan legs whereas he has light grey legs in the actual set. Nevertheless, it's great to see them all on the same page even if there may be some small errors.
Although the latest three 2011 sets are mentioned at the back of the book and in the timeline, that's as far as it goes. For example, the page about the Knight Bus doesn't mention the new one and the minifig gallery doesn't feature the new figures from these sets, so it's already out of date. But that's a problem all reference books have, isn't it?
Apart from that, there is nothing not to like about this book and at the low online price of $13 and £10 I can think of no reason not to buy it. It's definitely a 'must have' for all fans of Harry Potter LEGO.
You can buy it from Amazon, and when doing so you help keep Brickset running:
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