There are some books that you know you’re going to love before you even pick them up. Many times, these books fail to live up to your anticipation, and you end up disappointed. And then there’s LEGO Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary, which is every bit as good as you think it’s going to be, assuming you’re anything like me.
I have learned a great deal about the LEGO Star Wars toys from this book. Admittedly, the facts I’ve learned are perhaps a bit trivial: for instance, did you know that Kit Fisto’s head was the first minifig head ever to be made of rubber instead of plastic? Now you do. I have also become exceedingly jealous of people who have some of the sets that are no longer available except for exorbitant cost on eBay (if even there), such as the LEGO Mindstorms Droid Developer Kit.
As with all DK books, there is a great deal of detail, including probably-unnecessary bits of the story of the movies. I can’t say for 100% certain, but I would venture to guess that most people (of any age) who read this book will already know that the first Death Star destroys Alderaan, for instance. Most people who read the book will also catch the mistake I found, where the book says that “Grand Moff Tarkin reports to Vader,” which anyone who’s seen the original Star Wars knows is backwards — although it says that on the Star Destroyer page, so perhaps it’s supposed to refer only to that setting. The details all serve to add a great deal to the feel of the book, so that, even if you can’t actually have all the sets pictured in it, you can have the next best thing.
Two things in the book seem guaranteed to draw in LEGO maniacs everywhere: The book has a two-page spread devoted to community LEGO Star Wars builds, including one previously featured on GeekDad; and the book comes with an exclusive minifig, of Luke from the very end of Star Wars, with a (painted) medal around his neck. There are plenty of other cool extras in the book, like a complete timeline of every LEGO Star Wars set organized by year and movie, and two fun little flip books embedded in the pages.
In short: If you like the LEGO Star Wars sets and minifigs, you will love this book. If you put it down long enough to let your kids read it, I can pretty much guarantee they’ll like it, too.
LEGO Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary is published by Dorling Kindersley (DK), and retails for $21.99, though it can be found for a good bit less in many places. More information about the book, including an interview with its author, Simon Beecroft, can be found on DK’s website. Bookstores and LEGO Stores all over the U.S. are holding special events tomorrow to celebrate the book’s release, so check to see if there’s one near you.
(Full disclosure: I received a free review copy of the book from DK.)