Top positive review
9 people found this helpful
Ideal Way for Youngsters 6-11 to Add Lego Knowledge
on 9 May 2004
My older son and younger nephew are both dedicated Lego fans. Beginning around age 6, they could not get enough information about Lego . . . nor enough Lego sets. Thousands of dollars later their thirst is still not slaked. This book is less expensive than most of the better Lego kits, and will bring many hours of pleasure to those who love Lego. If you are a teenager, you will probably find this book a bit elementary and will likely see it as a four-star book. If you are an adult, you will mainly enjoy the illustrations of amazing Lego models that the master builders have created, and this will be a three-star book for you.
The book has a little of everything. You get a thumbnail background on the company's history, key dates for major innovations, how master builders are selected, major exhibits from the three LEGOLAND parks (in Denmark, the U.K., and California), and the latest in robotics, software and merchandise. The book also shows how Lego can be used to create scale models for explaining ideas (such as the ones for how Lego blocks are manufactured), as well as bringing major buildings to life (such as the 21-foot-tall Empire State Building). The final section shows how Lego blocks can be employed to create sculpture and artistic images.
"Our aim is to stimulate children to become masters of their own lives . . . ." And Lego has been successful at that. While most children start out slavishly following the kits, soon they jumble all of the pieces together and just start making up their own objects. That's when Lego's flexible potential becomes important. In fact, that's how master builders are qualified, by taking a random group of components and seeing what they can build in 45 minutes. In essence, Lego is a tool for creating something physical out of a mental concept using virtually identical pieces of different sizes and colors.
Many Americans will not have seen any of the LEGOLANDs, and the glimpses of what models are found there will probably whet the appetite for more, probably only to be satisfied by an actual trip.
The book could have been improved by providing more technical detail on some of the most interesting models, so that those who are interested in creating similar models would know what components are needed and in what quantitites (and at what cost). Another potential improvement would have been to have included sections about some of the best model builders, where they could describe how they think about creating models.
The main drawback of the model illustrations is that many are too small to give you a full sense of what the models look like. Fold-out pages with adults standing next to the Lego models would have helped in a number of cases.
On the other hand, I am unaware of any other book about Lego that approaches this one for quality, scope and reader interest. So, if you know some who loves Lego, you should probably give them this book as a gift before they buy it for themselves. You'll be a hero or heroine!
After you finish this book, I suggest you consider how you can establish greater Lego challenges that will help create more problem-solving ability. For example, you might encourage your child to see what models can be made with the fewest pieces or the smallest variety of pieces.
Get the best from the least!