Guest Author - Lesley Aeschliman
The Official Pokemon Handbook was released in 1999, and includes all 150 original Pokemon, as well as Mew and Togepi.
The book opens with a write-up done from Professor Oak's point of view that gives some background explanations about the Pokemon universe. This is followed by a section called "The Pokemon Journey," which gives a brief explanation about the concept of the Pokemon creatures. Then, the book explains that each Pokemon is identified by at least one element and what colors identify what elements; when you look in the corner of each Pokemon page, you can tell what type it is by the color the corner is.
Then, the book explains how someone becomes a Pokemon trainer, how a Pokemon journey begins, and there is a map of the Kanto region. The next section explains the basics of Pokemon battles, and the last introductory page explains how to read each entry in the handbook.
The bulk of the book is the entries for the Pokemon. They are listed in numerical order, and each Pokemon has the following information included in its listing: a pronunciation of its name, its element, its height, its weight, its main techniques, other techniques it can use, what element or elements the Pokemon is good against, what element or elements that Pokemon is weak against, the type of evolution it is, and what level it evolves at. Each Pokemon also has a paragraph write-up to explain it.
Some of the Pokemon also have a "Pokedex Pick," which provides a piece of trivia about that particular Pokemon. The following Pokemon have a "Pokedex Pick": Bulbasaur, Charmeleon, Charizard, Blastoise, Caterpie, Butterfree, Ekans, Pikachu, Raichu, Sandslash, Female Nidoran, Nidorino, Clefairy, Meowth, Persian, Psyduck, Golduck, Poliwag, Tentacool, Ponyta, Muk, Haunter, Gengar, Onix, Krabby, Exeggcute, Hitmonlee, Lickitung, Koffing, Chansey, Tangela, Starmie, Mr. Mime, Electabuzz, Pinsir, Lapras, Aerodactyl, Articuno, and Moltres.
Next, there is a list of the top ten ways to care about your Pokemon, as well as some frequently asked questions. "Secrets of the Gym Leaders" features write-ups on Brock, Misty, Lt. Surge, Erika, Sabrina, Koga, Blaine, and Giovanni. The next section features the four Elite trainers of the Indigo Plateau: Lorelei, Bruno, Agatha, and Lance.
This is followed by trainer trivia about Ash Ketchum, Gary Oak, Jessie, James, Professor Oak, Nurse Joy, and Officer Jenny. There is also a sneak preview of Togepi, and a checklist of all the Pokemon in the book. The index in the back lists the Pokemon in alphabetical order, and what page each Pokemon appears on. The book also comes with a poster of all the Pokemon featured in the book.
From the design of the book, as well as the way the book is written, it's obvious that children are the intended audience for the book. However, this book is chock full of valuable information, so adults shouldn't shy away from The Official Pokemon Handbook. I would recommend this book to Pokemon fans and collectors, both young and old.
I wrote this review after taking a look through a copy of this book that my older daughter checked out from her school library.