Friday, June 29, 2012

Lego Friends Chapter Books

LEGO FRIENDS: Welcome to Heartlake City. Helen Murray. 2012. DK Readers, 48 pages. 

Welcome to Heartlake City! There is always something fun and exciting to do here. You could explore the boutiques and cafes downtown, or enjoy an open-air concert in the park. Perhaps you might like to go to the pool to sunbathe and chat with friends, or catch a boat to Lighthouse Island to search for buried treasure? Anything is possible in Heartlake City. 

This DK Reader stars Olivia, Emma, Stephanie, Andrea, and Mia. Characters some may know from a line of Lego products, Lego Friends. This book introduces the five characters, sharing what makes each girl unique, and also introduces readers to Heartlake City. The book uses photographs throughout the chapters. Each chapter highlights a specific Lego set. For example, "A Fun Place To Work" features "City Park Cafe," and "A Girly Day Out" features, "Butterfly Beauty Shop." So is there a story to this reader? Yes and no. The writing is not wonderful. But it makes some effort to be descriptive, I think.
Andrea works at the cafe with Marie, the owner. Marie is a great cook and a wonderful boss. For years, Marie's friends told her that she should open a cafe so the whole of Heartlake City could sample her food--so one day she did! Marie bakes cakes and pies before the cafe opens. Her favorite moment of the day is when she pulls out a tasty cake from the oven. The wonderful smell that greets her makes all the hard work worthwhile. The cafe stays busy all day. Andrea and Marie rush around taking orders and delivering tasty food to eager customers. Andrea is an amazing singer and is always dreaming about becoming a pop star, even at work! Fortunately for Andrea, Marie encourages her to perform for customers at the cafe. With Marie's fantastic baking and Andrea's incredible singing, the cafe draws in customers from all across Heartlake City! (8-9)
and
There's so much to see and do in Heartlake City, but sometimes there's no place like home. And Olivia's house is one of the coolest in the city. The girls like to head to Olivia's house to spend time together. Olivia, Andrea, Mia, Emma, and Stephanie have many choices about where to go in the beautiful house. They can watch movies in the comfortable living room, cook together in the spacious kitchen, and stargaze at night from the roof terrace. The friends also enjoy spending time with Olivia's parents. Anna and Peter are always there with a sympathetic ear whenever the girls have any worries. (16-17)
Some of the descriptions are too much, in my opinion. It doesn't sound completely natural. 

And the chapters, in my opinion, are more scenarios than actual stories, almost suggestions in how to play. And the stories are definitely directed by the product. (Does the set come with a glass? Better mention that Andrea gets thirsty while playing music.)

But. The photographs are enjoyable. The photographs make the sets look like a lot of fun.

LEGO Friends: Friends Forever. Helen Murray. 2012. DK Readers. 48 pages. 

Heartlake City is a wonderful place to live. Whether you love nature, relaxation, shopping, or going to cool parties and events, you are sure to find lots to do in this beautiful city. For one lucky girl, Heartlake City has just become her new home. Her name is Olivia and she is looking forward to all the fun and excitement the city promises. Olivia can't wait to plan an outdoor adventure in the mountains, take a boat out onto Lake Heart, and go to open-air concerts in the park. But, most of all, Olivia is excited to make lots of new friends. With all the cool things to do in her new city, that should be no problem at all!

Friends Forever is a DK Reader starring Olivia, Mia, Stephanie, Emma, and Andrea. The first chapter or two introduce Olivia as a newcomer to the city, but, within a few chapters, she's definitely settled in and the center of a circle of friends. All the friends, of course, are super-super-talented and quite unique. Each has a long, long list of hobbies; each is confident.
Olivia is a clever, hardworking student and she is looking forward to studying at Heartlake School. Her favorite subjects are science, art, and history. Olivia is a practical person who loves to solve problems. She likes to make and fix things. One day she hopes to be a scientist, inventor, or engineer. Olivia enjoys nature and hiking and she is eager to explore the beautiful woods, coastline, and mountains of Heartlake City. Unfortunately, this will have to wait because Olivia's parents have told her that she must unpack all of the boxes in her room first! (6-7)
This one is a chapter book. There's a chapter devoted to each character, Olivia, Mia, Stephanie, Emma, and Andrea. And two chapters are devoted to describing how these five friends are the best, best friends ever. I must admit that this book, Friends Forever, does a better job at story than Welcome to Heartlake City. Not that the writing is wonderful. It doesn't exactly sound natural.

But the photographs are fun, they make the toys look fun.

Read Friends Forever and Welcome to Heartlake City
  • If your child LOVES LEGO Friends
© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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