Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Lego Building Books for Christmas

If you checked every single one of my sons' lists for Santa this year, there was one common theme among them all: Legos.  Whether they wanted building sets, inspired clothing, mini-figures, or video games -- Lego was mentioned by all of them in more than one request.  One area that I know my boys did not consider when making their lists was books; Lego building books were likely outside of their imaginations.


I took a look at three books from No Starch Press recently, all designed to give builders (young and old) a better shot at creating more amazing projects with Lego:
  • The Unofficial Lego Builder's Guide
  • The Unofficial Lego Technic Builder's Guide
  • The Lego Adventure Book
At first glance, it may seem that these are similar books; in fact, they are very different in skill level and what they have to offer.

The Unofficial Lego Builder's Guide is a book that breaks down the architecture of Lego.  With lots of text and a few supporting color photos per page, readers will learn the best ways to stack and arrange blocks to create the effect they want.  It's amazing how overlapping blocks, for example, can strengthen a creation so much!  This book is perfect for moving beyond just "playing around" with Legos; it can equip little builders to make creations that last, and uses solid building techniques found in life-size buildings to demonstrate simple architecture principles.

The Unofficial Lego Technic Builder's Guide is close to the same format, but focuses on the Lego Technic line of bricks.  As the Technic systems are designed for older and more advanced builders, the book would be most suitable for ages 9 and up (with adult help, possibly.)  The book uses full-color photos and diagrams to help builders master the art of incorporating motors, gears, pneumatics, pulleys, and linkages to utilize their Technic sets in amazing ways!

The Lego Adventure Book is a more creative and fun look at the Lego system.  With step-by-step directions for placing bricks, readers can build over 25 different models, including dinosaurs, cars, and castles!  Since the design is so transparently displayed, kids can then adapt the design to customize and personalize their experience.  Of the three books, this is the one I see my younger kids ages 5 and 7 using the most.  Over 200 models are shown for inspiration, and very little text is used to teach.

My kids will be overjoyed to find yet another element of Lego under the tree this year.  Since the books are so educational, we'll also be incorporating them into our science and math classrooms of our homeschool in the coming years, as well!  (They sturdy books will last for years -- even with the toughest of wear.)

Learn more about all of the Lego-inspired books from No Starch Press at their website!

*Review copies received.  Opinions are 100% my own.

 
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