Tuesday, October 1, 2013

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The LEGO Build-It Book, Vol. 1: Amazing Vehicles


Thank you to No Starch Press for providing a complimentary copy of this book to base this review upon. All opinions expressed are my own.

Lego’s have been part of my life since before I was the age my kids are now (6, 6, and 9). I am sure many of you are in the same situation and understand my thrill to see my kids enjoying a toy that was also such a huge part of my own childhood.

Whenever I get a chance to check out a LEGO product I jump at it. Recently we received the LEGO Build-It Book (Volume 1):  Amazing Vehicles and I was excited. Not only did I get to play with LEGOs, I had a grown up excuse to do it!

The Amazing Vehicles Book includes 10 sets of instructions for some very cool vehicles ranging from race cars to a baby stroller (that's right, a baby stroller!). As I expected, the instructions were colorful and precise. The book spends a few pages making sure readers understand some of the building concepts using a comic like style and layout. Although the book is slightly geared towards adolescent readers, it's definitely not too young for adult LEGO enthusiasts.

I started by heading out to my local LEGO store to buy all the parts I needed using the provided parts list. I estimated the parts would cost me less than $15. We own thousands of LEGOs already, but I thought it would be a nice touch to use the exact parts and colors used in the book.

Although I was able to get a few of the parts required at the store, they didn't have what I needed and the trip was mostly in vain (can a trip to a LEGO store ever truly be in vain?). I went home deciding I was going to use what I had and make the best of it. But isn't that part of the charm of playing with LEGO ? For the record, LEGO's Pick A Brick is an excellent online service where I could have ordered every single part I needed, but I felt like a kid again and wanted to play right away!

I’m going to cut to the chase and state I was not able to finish any of the projects in the book. The book's instructions were superb and easy to follow and 95% of the parts required are mostly common, but in the end I didn't have enough to finish anything. At first I was feeling like I failed in some way, but then I realized something:  I just played with LEGOs for a few hours and had a blast. And I am 43 years old!

After my attempts at making some cool vehicles, my kids weren't impressed and had me step aside, it was pro time. My 6 year old son Luke made his own interpretations of some of the book's designs.

Whether I finished any of the projects in the book is secondary to the fact that I had a blast trying. I felt like a 7 year old again pushing through my kids' mountains of LEGOs looking for that perfect piece or color. This LEGO Build-It Book book is an excellent guide and reference for any level of builder and I heartily recommend it. What an excellent companion to a LEGO kit for a gift. If you want a gift that's truly unique, order all the parts at Pick A Brick to go along with the book for a flawless LEGO experience!

You can learn more about LEGO Build-It Book (Volume 1):  Amazing Vehicles at Shop.Oreilly.com.  This paperback book retails for $19.95 and just $21.95 for both the paperback and the ebook.