The fine folks over at DK Australia recently sent me a couple of LEGO books to review – the new Star Wars Character Encyclopedia and the Friends Adventure Guide. Naturally, I picked the one that appeals to me most – The Friends Adventure Guide Book!
Not even joking, I’ve probably got more LEGO Friends sets compared to Star Wars! In fact, I’ve got a couple of new Friends sets in my review queue… along with dozens of other sets.
I’m a big fan of DK’s range of LEGO books, especially the ones that come with cool/exclusive minifigures. Minifigure: Year by Year: A Visual Chronicle is one of my favourite LEGO books of all time and is conveniently located on my coffee table for easy reading.
You can purchase The Adventure Guide book from the Penguin Australia online store.
The Adventure Guide is the latest Friends-themed LEGO book from DK and comes in a very snazzy hardcover edition packed with colorful visuals of Heartlake City and its minidoll companions. Unlike traditional character encyclopedias which function like minifigure checklists, The Adventure Guide is more of an interesting pictorial walkthrough of the LEGO Friends universe, and new LEGO Friends sets.
The Adventure Guide comes with an exclusive Kate minidoll. Kate has shown up in 3 other Friends sets, usually very beach-themed ones such as Water Scooter Fun, Stephanie’s Beach House and most recently in the Heartlake Light House.
Here’s a closer look at Kate. She’s usually dressed up in beachwear so this version of her with a halter top and white 3 quarter pants is a nice change of scene, and is of course exclusive to The Adventure Guide. She comes with a yellow basket that’s nice to have, and a strawberry printed tile.
Her pants have a purple flower printed on the right leg for some added detail.
LEGO Friends characters and minidolls aren’t the most collectible, but I’m sure there are huge fans out there who must collect them all. The exclusive Kate minidoll is a nice addition for any LEGO Friends fan. I actually quite like minidolls and am always looking to expand my Minidoll population, so Kate is a very welcome addition to my Friends collection.
What’s in The Adventure Guide? Think of it as a delightful mix of girlie magazine, LEGO friends set catalogue and storybook. Obviously, like the Friends theme it is aimed at young girls so don’t roll your eyes if you buy one and encounter stuff like personality tests, fashion tips and stories about how to cultivate friendships.
Not kidding, one of the first things you come across is a branching quiz to help you determine which LEGO Friends character are you. Of course I took the test.
Turns out, I identify most with Mia (coincidentally my favourite Friends character) who loves “all things furry, fishy or feathered“. Sounds just about right!
I can definitely see the appeal of the book. Storytelling and LEGO go hand in hand, and this book is terrific for bringing the Friends LEGO sets to life by expanding on the characters, their personalities and their varied interests and vocations.
For young kids, having all this information is quite handy to establish some context especially if you’re building Friends sets. I think it’s really important for younger kids to personally identify or have role models to look up to when they roleplay with LEGO. For parents, this book is quite ideal to guide along your younger kids as they play and act out different scenarios.
There’s lots of great content that ties in with the newer Friends sets that are currently available in toy stores – mostly from 2014 onwards which is great as the information is fresh and contextual. Looking beyond all the pastel colours and girlie stuff, there’s a good balance of regular girly content and some really cool aspirational pieces like this one on what a roving news reporter actually does.
There’s also fluffy pieces like how you can be a better friend. I imagine this is something that kids will be all over.
One of my favourite things about The Adventure Guide is that it does a superb job showcasing the current Friends sets that are on the market. It was quite fun matching up the Friends sets that I own with the ones featured in the book, such as Stephanie’s Pizzeria.
This is one of my favourite Friends sets that I recently put together – the Heartlake Hair Salon, which I aim to review soon. The photography of the characters and LEGO builds in The Adventure Guide are exceptionally sharp and crisp – it does a really great job showcasing the sets and all the little details within the builds.
Who doesn’t love Friends animals? I have a bit of an obsession with LEGO Friends animals – as you can see from my little herd of fawns. There’s a great section featuring all the cute little critters found in Heartlake City and its surrounds.
I have to say that I liked the Friends Adventure Guide Book a lot more than I expected to. It helps that I’m a fan of the theme, so it was easy for me to connect with the content.
If you or your kids are big into LEGO Friends, this will be a worthwhile investment especially if you value and encourage role-playing with LEGO. DK have done an admirable job fleshing out the Friends character and rich universe that LEGO have designed into an easy-to-read and visually appealing book that’s the perfect companion to your Friends LEGO sets.
The Friends Adventure Guide Book has a RRP of $24.95 and you can purchase it directly from Penguin Australia. Alternatively, you can also check the children’s books aisle of your preferred bookstores as these books go on sale pretty often. It’s pretty easy to pick these up for about $20 or less if you shop at the right time.
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned to my next LEGO book review very soon!
Special thanks to DK Australia for providing me with a review copy of the Friends Adventure Guide.