Wow, I never realized how expensive Lego sets were until my daughter began asking for some! Most of the sets I have seen over the years are very "boy-oriented", but my daughters all like Spongebob, so I thought that might be a good set to start out with. I didn't want to put a lot of money into something I wasn't sure if they would really like, so I bought a mid-range priced set called The Krusty Krab to see if she enjoyed building the items or if it would be too difficult or boring for her. With this set, you get 295 pieces including Mr. Krabs, Spongebob, Squidward, and Plankton figures. I thought this looked neat because after you build the structures, it would still have a lot of play value as a playset with figures. I liked the fact that there was more to do with it than just build the stuff, look at it, take it apart, and build it again.
When my 8 year old daughter received the set, she immediately began construction on the Krusty Krab. She had a little help from her grandpa, but I was very impressed with how easily she was able to follow the directions and how cool the little pieces were. The finished product only took a couple of hours, but she enjoyed every minute of it. My six year old even helped, building some of the smaller items like the grill and checkout counter. She didn't even use the directions (stubborn!) but was still able to construct the items properly. Then when they were finished, they were able to reinact their favorite scenes from Spongebob.
All in all, it is a great building set that I think will get many hours of play. Now that they have built the structures with the directions and played with them, I think they will try making some of their own Spongebob creations, maybe adding some pieces from our other basic LEGO sets. And maybe I'll be nice enough to splurge on another character set in the future!