Blender is a brilliant program but really you need some expert guidance and this book is just that. I had been learning Blender from the .org and a number of You-Tube videos, they all left me with questions, this book filled in the gaps. It's easy to read and follow, the tutorials make sense and are in a logical order. It's my second Blender book but easily the best. I would recommend this book to all having their first stab at character animation, I didn't use the supplied character, mainly as I wanted to exoeriment with my own. No book will be quick from opening to having your finl animated model, this one took some getting through, but worth it in the end. Easy to dip back into for reference as well, enjoy.
Not for beginners, but It's a great book, it covers hair, sub surface scatter for making skin and delves quite deeply into materials. By the time I was half way though this book, I felt I could model anything. I came across several problems... probably because I didn't follow it to the letter. Even with this amazing book (and doing as your told), Blender is still a very complex program, with loads of setting trying to do the same things, and if they aren't all correct it wont do what you want it to, and you'll be scratching your head. I used youtube videos as well as this book. I can't say I'm good at character design, as I still struggle to get them to deform to my satisfaction in animation. But this is certainly a good start.
Very useful and covers a lot of ground. I think it's more useful than a Beginner's Guide because it is focused on a goal. And that goal is obviously character animation, something that a lot of people getting into Blender are interested in.
Having been asked a question today, I realise how far i've come since reading the first edition of this book and where its led me. Having also learnt new tricks from the Sintel training video, which I see are written about here too, i've just put in an order for this second edition. A real from novice to pro type book.