As a child of the 80's, I remember fondly the old LEGO Idea books. In those books, there were lots of photos of LEGO creations, and instructions that showed how to build some of the models in the book. I remember the Lego Idea Book 6000 the best, that's the one that follows Bill and Mary as they build a house, explore a city, travel to space, and then back in time to a medieval castle. When I saw the title of this book, the obvious connection was to those old books, so how does it compare?
The one thing that's missing is the instructions - this is not an instruction manual. Also, unlike Sean Kenney's smaller books (Cool City, Cool Cars and Trucks, and Cool Robots), this is a big book - nearly 200 pages! Like Sean's books, this book is filled with photos of LEGO creations. Like Sean's books, the intent of the book is to give you ideas on how to build things. You'll find that a lot of ideas can be crammed into 200 pages.
The book is broken up into sections, essentially these are: vehicles, buildings, spaceships & robots, castles, pirates & adventure, and real world creations. This last section is very interesting, showing you things such as picture frames and pencil holders made out of LEGO. As you can see, like the old LEGO Idea book, this book hits on many of LEGO's core themes.
Each of the sections starts out with a two page spread of useful parts that can be used to build creations in that section. I found that even these pages gave me ideas and started me thinking on how a particular part could be used. After that you'll find a number of creations beautifully photographed, often with multiple views which come in handy if you are attempting to reverse engineer one of the creations so that you can build it yourself. I can't tell you how many times I've looked at a LEGO truck and wished I could see how the frame was built. The multiple angle photos in this book help so that you won't experience that problem. At the end of each section, you'll find a few pages where you "Meet the Builder." These include some interview style questions where you learn about the builder who wrote a particular section of the book. I was surprised to find that one of the builders is only 18!
I think LEGO fans of all ages will enjoy the book, but young children might have a hard time handling the book due to its size. The lack of instructions also mean that it is probably more suited to an experienced LEGO builder - either an older child or a parent who enjoys building with younger children. My six year old son enjoys paging through the book, but it's a bit much for my 3 year old to handle. Neither would be able to build anything in this book without my help.
Overall, I think this is another great book option to inspire LEGO builders - but remember this book is about ideas and imagination - and you can't write instructions for that. If you know what you are buying, I think you'll really like this book, but don't expect it to be what it is not. If you want instructions, try one of the Brickmaster books such as LEGO City Brickmaster.