Friday, July 13, 2012

Don't Leggo Your Legos: The Lego Idea Book by Daniel Lipkowitz

 So he's built the dinosaur or the starship. Been there and done that?

If you have a bored 'tweener with the mid-summer doldrums and parts from assorted Lego kits crammed into his or her closet, is there anything to do to bring them back to life in those long weeks before school starts?

Daniel Lipkowitz' The LEGO Ideas Book (Dorling Kindersley, 2011) is just the book to re-vivify the kid and his cast-off kits. Divided into sections which will inspire both kids and dedicated Lego enthusiasts alike, this large-format guide, illustrated with Dorling Kindersley's trademark spot-art photos, follows up a historical rundown with sections devoted to fascinating Lego projects that make use of parts from special kits in free-form constructions that allow for creativity.

Chapter sections include such challenges as “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles,” which include almost everything--from hot-air balloons to ice cream trucks to monster trucks--with subways and trolleys, classic sportsters, and vintage barnstorming biplanes. “Town and Country” contains photos and partial cutaways of country cottages and manor houses, (with furniture), churches, barns, and bridges, even trees for the orchards.

“Out of This World” features spacecraft, hovercraft, space shuttles and lunar landers, not to mention space walkers and a variety of aliens to populate the scene. If your fancy turns to medieval times, there are castles with drawbridges and portcullises that work, knights and their steeds, dragons to slay, and a wide variety of siege machines to breach those castle walls. “World of Adventure” provides pirate ships, Viking ships and a Viking village, a jungle full of wild animals, or a variety of robots and ‘bots running amok. Final sections entitled “Make and Keep” and “Displays and Boxes” provide illustrations for chessboard or checkerboard and pieces, a desktop caddy for school and writing supplies, picture frames, keepsake boxes and chests, and decorative patterned wall hangings.

All this comes with a double-page spread of labelled parts, with instructions for simplifying projects to fit the Lego collection in-house for each major section in the book, and an appealing “Meet the Master” section with each chapter with creators of the elaborate layouts and their unique building tips.

This book is not for preschoolers with the basic birthday box of Legos, but for upper elementary, middle school-aged kids, adult enthusiasts and anyone else who happens to wander by and be drawn into these fascinating constructions, it's a great choice, fun for just browsing and inspiring for Lego lovers. D K’s The LEGO Ideas Book is a fine way to keep cool, develop those spatial relations brain connections, and share ideas during those dog days of summer.

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