Review: Ideal Bookshelf – Universals

Ideal Bookshelf
Ideal Bookshelf: Universals by Jane Mount – Galison – 1000 pieces

Ideal Bookshelf: Universals was a completely entertaining puzzle that I couldn’t seem to walk away from – just……..more……piece!

This is my kind of puzzle image, it’s a collage (of sorts) full of bright, fun colors. For me this type of picture is the wonderfully engaging and I have a problem stopping to do other mundane things like sleeping and eating. The pieces of one book lead to the next, and they’ll be so easy to find – I can’t stop just yet!

Galison puzzles have very good quality. The pieces are a good thickness, thinner than some brands, but very sturdy and difficult to bend. The fit is very good and holds together well; and the image reproduction is crisp and clean with no blurring or fuzziness. They have a great catalog of images to choose from, you can click the link above to see their current lineup of puzzles. (There’s a new puzzle very similar to this image that I would LOVE to assemble called Bibliophile Books Club Darlings – looks like great fun!)

My one issue with this puzzle was the lack of variety in the piece shapes, all the pieces are what I call ballerinas (the standard 2 prong/2 hole shape). There is enough variety within this shape to be sure you’re not placing pieces where they do not go, but I normally prefer puzzles with a little more variety. Having only one shape makes large areas of one color or pattern more difficult to complete….

Ideal Bookshelf 1

You can see above where I separated the pieces by “long” ones and “fat” ones, and had to try them one at a time to fill in the polka dot book. In the puzzle community we call this using “brute force”, it’s something most puzzlers have done at one time or another. I do it a little differently though; instead of picking up each piece and trying to fit it into place I pull the piece from the assembled section and try it against all the pieces I have lined up. I find it much easier and less time consuming, and therefore it seems a little less frustrating.¬†The only books in this image that I had to do this for were the red polka dots, and the dark blue “Book That Makes Me Look Smart”.

Even with the lack of variety in shapes I thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle and would definitely assemble it again. It had enough challenge to keep things interesting, was easy enough to not feel tedious, and the image is beautiful and bright. If this image turns your page, it’s absolutely recommended – two book stacks way up! ūüďöūüďö


  • Title:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Ideal Bookshelf
  • Artist:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Jane Mount
  • Brand:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Galison
  • Piece count:¬† ¬† ¬†1000 pieces
  • Size:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Approx. 20 x 27 in. (51 x 69 cm)
  • Purchased:¬† ¬† ¬† N/A, sent for review


  • Board:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Very good
  • Cutting:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Very good
  • Image:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Excellent
  • Box:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Excellent
  • Fit:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Very good
  • Puzzle Dust:¬† ¬† ¬†Small amount
  • Piece cut:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Grid cut
  • Piece shapes:¬† ¬†No variety, all 2 prong/2 hole
  • Finish:¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Slightly shiny finish, lays flat

Overall Rating:      Very good, recommended


I received this product at no cost in order to facilitate this review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are truthful and 100% my own.