The LEGO Book (Part 2)
This is part two of my review of Dorling Kindersley’s slip-cased pair of LEGO books. The thickest book of the pair, at 200 pages, is simply entitled The LEGO Book. Like Standing Small, this is a highly pictorial book in the trademark DK style of white (or black) pages with high quality photographs and snippets of text.
It’s divided into 3 main sections: a history of the LEGO company and its products and how they are made, a pictorial survey of LEGO themes which takes up the bulk of the book, and a section on the wider LEGO world. There’s a scan of the contents page on the DK website which shows what’s covered.
The first section details the origins of the company and the ‘system of play’ and includes timelines showing product development from the 1950s to date and photos taken inside the factory in Billund. There’s not much new here that hasn’t been covered in other books but it’s necessarily included here to give the reader the full picture of the brand and its products.
The LEGO themes section may be the part of the book that most interests Brickset users because it covers the development of themes from their first appearance until now. The large, long running themes, such as City/Town, Castle and space get 10 pages each while newer themes such as Batman and Agents get just two. Like Standing Small, some themes have not been covered at all, such as Divers, Time Cruisers and other short-lived ones. I guess that is understandable; the book would be huge otherwise, but it does prevent this from being a definitive guide.
The long running themes feature a sets to remember page which shows box art for a selection of sets in the theme. However I think they have been chosen on the basis of how attractive or what size the pictures are because they certainly don’t cover the most fondly remembered sets of the theme (where, for example is 6876 Blacktron Alienator on the Space page!)
One criticism I have is that this section is very biased towards sets released in the last 10 years which, depending on how old you are and how long you’ve been collecting, is either a good or a bad thing. The sets to remember pages show a good selection of sets from all years but you are hard pressed to find pictures of many sets released before 2000 in the main theme pages. For example, the space section has two pages covering everything from 1979 to 2006, then two pages for Mars Mission and two for the new Space Police.
The last part of the book covers ‘everything else’ such as theme parks, LEGO Universe, LEGO Clubs, LEGO.com, brick art, and two pages showing AFOL MOCs. It merely skims the surface of these topics, but it rounds the book off nicely and once you’re done reading you are left feeling that you have a good overview of everything LEGO. Sadly, there isn’t a section on LEGO related websites, though…
So, to summarise, this is an excellent book which, despite its shortcomings, deserves a place on every LEGO fan’s bookshelf and DK/LEGO are to be commended for publishing it.