Factastic: A LEGO Adventure in the Real World (LEGO Nonfiction)
Factastic arrives just in time for the holiday season, and makes a fantastic gift for boys and girls of all ages!
Coming in at 175 pages, FACTASTIC is a sizeable, sturdy hardback with a unique and focus-engaging cover design. Topics lightly introduced have a huge range, and include: history and historical figures, geographical features, dinosaurs, ocean life, pirates, robots, inventions and discoveries, vehicles, sports, architecture, and the space program.
The book opens with a stunning 2-page spread picture of the Aurora Borealis taken from the International Space Station. An astronaut minifigure in the lower left corner mentions (in a comic-style word bubble) that the ISS orbits the Earth about 16 times every day, while the footnote square beside him explains how the brilliant lightshow is formed by charged particles interacting with our atmosphere over the polar region. This presentation method remains consistent throughout, though all other pages are packed much more densely with fact-based information interspersed with LEGO figure commentary in a comic-strip style—which keeps up a lighter and more entertaining tone.
The format on individual pages is often busy and somewhat scattered—making it difficult to re-locate specific facts beyond the generalized location provided in the Table of Contents.
Those who have read other LEGO Adventures In The Real World books may note some recycling (e.g. slightly rephrased info and exact images from their Knights & Castles book). Clever repurposing, as well as a way of consolidating and reinforcing previously covered content.
The Invention and Discovery Chapter was particularly inspiring, (and although the 10 Helpful Inventions portion seemed largely inane, it was at least amusing.)
Factastic and Opiniontastic?
The semi-frequent use of subjective descriptions such as: “truly awe-inspiring”(p.16), “crazy emperors!”(p.23), “wonderful culture”(p. 24), and “amazing women”(p.90). found in the purely non-fiction sections may detract somewhat from the fact-imparting goals of the book. But at the same time, this potentially presents parents and teachers with an opportunity to point out emotionally charged or possibly manipulative uses of adjectives and punctuation. (In this reviewer’s opinion, the elementary years are a fine time to teach young readers to differentiate between objective and subjective writing.)
Note: There is a precarious line between holding a young reader’s attention with non-fiction and influencing the conclusions they come to about historical figures and events, but LEGO does at least seems to be walking that tightrope in good faith.
On the whole, this is a fun potential tool for children in the 8-12 age range who may need some added incentive to help the non-fiction reading go down easily.