Tag Archives: Book Review

Build Yourself Happy Might Help With All That Coronavirus Anxiety

Let me begin by saying I am not a mental health practitioner. Everything that I am going to say is a suggestion only and just my personal opinion. Anxiety and depression are serious medical issues. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Things are a bit shit at the moment, to put it bluntly. Everything that is going on has led to a huge amount of anxiety for a lot of people. I think we all need something to take our minds off things.

I know we’ve all got our LEGO sets to build but sometimes you need something else, and Build Yourself Happy by Abbie Headon is a great option. It’s a book that looks at simple ways you can use LEGO to improve your mental state.

build-yourself-happy-cover

If you are looking for something to help you justify spending $250 on a modular to your less than supportive partner then this book isn’t for you.

This book is about Mindfulness.

Book Review: DC Comics Build Your Own Adventure

As book week comes to a close I am taking a look at one more Build Your Own Adventure book. This time Green Lantern John Stewart takes us on a journey through the world of DC Comics.

The central plot of this book is that John Stewart is looking for the Justice League, and with communications down he has to go find them in person.

For those not familiar with the character there is a brief introduction on who he is. It doesn’t get in to the entire history of the Green Lantern Corps but does provide a basic overview.

The Justice League has had a varying line-up over the years as you’d expect for anything to do with comics, but the team presented here is the basic big hitters: Wonder Woman, Flash, Superman, Aquaman and Batman.

DC BYOA Book 01

After the instructions for the included set we get the usual builder talk section that seems to be common to all of the Build Your Own Adventure books. It’s a nice overview of the different parts on offer and acts a little teaser to get your brain thinking about building.

[Read on for details on the Green Lantern Minifigure and the included set. There is even a 360° look at the set]

Book Review: Nexo Knights Build Your Own Adventure

It’s Book Week, so this week I am going to be reviewing two LEGO related books. First up the Nexo Knights Build Your Own Adventure Book. Be sure to check out the 360° look at the included set below.

There are a few different style of LEGO books produced by DK – from the serious encyclopaedia style books to sticker books at the other end of the spectrum. The build your own adventure books fall closer towards the “kid” end, but generally still have some great building inspiration.

This latest Build Your Own Adventure book is based on the Nexo Knights theme, specifically the 2017 sets – with the current rock villains featured.

As this is a book that comes with a LEGO set it is presented in an outer cardboard sleeve. If you don’t intend to keep it in that once you’ve built the set then you will be pleased to note that the book itself is nicely bound with a solid hard cover.

First up is some basic introductory type information – a spread on the various LEGO parts that are available, an introduction to the Robin character and the actual building instructions for Robin’s Mech.

Nexo Knights Build Your Own Adventure Book03

The book is split up over 5 chapters. Each chapter is loosely based around a different area of the Nexo Knights world. I am by no means an expert in the lore of the Nexo Knights, but the book does a decent job of explaining the various areas and their relevance to the story.

The basic plot is that Monstrox and Jestro have destroyed a network of servers around the kingdom, and Robin must travel to each of them to make repairs. It’s a very loose story just to link the various sections.

Book Review: LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes – The Awesome Guide

While LEGO Batman has been around since 2006 it wasn’t until 2012 that the rest of the DC Comics universe started to show up in LEGO form with the DC Comics Super Heroes theme. This Awesome Guide book takes a look at that theme and the characters and sets that make it.

[Be sure to check out the details of the exclusive Wonder Woman minifigure at the end of the article, including a 360° look]

DC Comics 101

Comic book universes are messy, especially the DC universe. There have been various events that have rebooted the universe and multiple Earths with slightly different versions of characters.

With all of that mess it seems like setting that history out in a timeline that made sense to kids would be impossible, but this book handles it quite well with a timeline that highlights the key points without getting bogged down in the nitty-gritty details. The timeline presented features all the things you’d expect it to – Batman, Superman and the forming of the Justice League for example.

DC Awesome Guide Feature 01

There is also a fun little flow-chart that will help you work out your DC alter ego, even if that happens to be a villain.

In general the details are reasonably light – this book is a guide and not a character encyclopaedia – but still manage to contain a decent amount of information. There are some fun little features like comparing the net worth of Bruce Wayne and Oliver Queen. The first half of the book is dedicated to the heroes and covers secret identities, sidekicks, weapons and vehicles among other topics.

Book Review: The LEGO Animation Book

LEGOAnimation PDF-1

Stop motion animation using LEGO bricks is a fantastic way to tell stories, and some of the top YouTube channels have massive followings.

It’s no surprise then that there is a lot of interest in learning how to get started with the medium. The LEGO Animation Book aims to be your complete guide to being a LEGO stop-motion animator.

A lot of the previous LEGO books that I have reviewed have been fairly light, easy reading. They’ve either been fun things aimed at kids or informational books with more pictures than text. The LEGO Animation book does start off light but does get very technical.

The book has a great progression from the basics of staging a shoot to some very advanced topics. You can see the trailer for the film referenced throughout the book at the end of the article.

Book Review: I Love That Minifigure

I Love That Minifigure Cover

RRP $29.99
Available from most retailers

Be sure to check out the review of the exclusive Zombie Skateboarder minifigure at the end of the book review.

I don’t think LEGO would be as popular as it is today without the cute characters known as minifigures. The little people increase the play value of sets and help turn bricks into worlds from comic books, TV shows and movies. To celebrate the wonder that is LEGO minifigures DK have produced I Love That Minifigure, a book that celebrates all things minifigure.

The Book

ILTM Book Detail 01

The book has 11 chapters, each with a different group of characters. The chapters range from Everyday Heroes to All-Time Icons. Other chapters include You’re History, Out of This World, You’re My Hero, Spooky and Scary, The World’s A Stage, One of A Kind, Wild at Heart, Rotten Rouges, and We Have The Power.

Book Review: Great LEGO Sets – A Visual History

Great LEGO Sets A Visual History Cover Small

RRP $49.99
Available from most retailers
Currently $33 at Target

LEGO is undoubtedly one of the most popular global brands and that success comes from decades of creating amazing products (and of course some not so great ones). Great LEGO Sets attempts to distill the best of the best from LEGO’s history into a single book.

This isn’t a book for young LEGO fans, this is a detailed study of the history of LEGO. I’d like to think that if there was a university course in LEGO this would be high on the required reading list.

The book opens with a beautifully written foreword that makes a very strong case for why LEGO is such an amazing product.

The intention behind the LEGO System of Play was to “create a toy that prepares the child for life, appeals to the imagination, and develops the creative urge and joy of creation that are the driving forces in every human being.”

The foreword also give adult LEGO fans a call to action – go and get that LEGO sitting in your parents house collecting dust. I’d try this myself but I’ve been told by my mum that those bricks are reserved for grandchildren.

The content of the book is broken down by decade. This structure works perfectly as it allows LEGO fans of any vintage to quickly flick to the decade of their childhood.

The book opens with a year by year timeline of the LEGO company. While the main parts of the book focus on great sets, this timeline is more broad but also less exclusive. Themes that are well regarded as flops still get a mention in the timeline.
Great LEGO Sets Review Timeline

After the timeline is one of my favourite parts of this book. The section is called “How a LEGO set is made” and it’s a really interesting insight into the design process. It’s packed with great quotes and information that people may not know.

Book Review: Friends – Build Your Own Adventure

Friends Cover Small

RRP $39.99
Available from most retailers

The Book

The Friends Build Your Own Adventure book is a new entry from DK books. Unlike older books that featured a selection of bricks, this title features a single set (and minidoll) with the book serving as inspiration for future building.

I suspect that there is going to be a mixed response to the format – some young LEGO fans might find it frustrating that they can’t build everything that they see in the book. It’s important to go into the book knowing what it is.

The book opens with the instructions for the included set then a few pages of introduction. There are profiles of the main Friends characters, and nice explanation of how the book works.

Friends Page Feature01

I really liked the Builder Talk section which contains a visual glossary of different LEGO elements. There is also a section on sideways building, which has always been considered a more advanced technique.

Book Review: Ninjago – Build Your Own Adventure

Ninjago Cover Small

RRP $39.99
Available from most retailers

The Book

The Ninjago Build Your Own Adventure book is a new entry from DK books. Unlike older books that featured a selection of bricks, this title features a single set (and minifigure) with the book serving as inspiration for future building.

I suspect that there is going to be a mixed response to the format – some young LEGO fans might find it frustrating that they can’t build everything that they see in the book. It’s important to go into the book knowing what it is.

The book opens with the instructions for the included set. I liked that this is the opening of the book rather than stuck at the back as an add-on.

Once your model is built, you are greeted with a few pages of introduction. There are profiles of the Ninjago characters, and nice explanation of how the book works.

Ninjago Page Feature01

I really liked the included pages that explain the different types of parts that LEGO produce. It’s a great visual introduction to things like the difference between plates and tiles.