Have a LEGO builder on your Christmas shopping list? If so, I have three book suggestions for every level of builder. Check them out!
The Unofficial LEGO Builder's Guide, 2nd edition by Allan Bedford is meant for the LEGO enthusiast who is interested in deepening his/her knowledge of LEGO. The book starts with an introduction of the various pieces and their names, along with an explanation of what each piece is usually used for.
Chapter 2 is filled with tips and techniques on building. Bedford explains the different ways to connect bricks, how to make round walls, how not to build a beam, along with the proper way to separate bricks.
Chapter 3 describes how to create a mini-fig scale building and gives you directions for a train station that is built to mini-fig scale, complete with a list of all the bricks you will need to build it.
My favorite chapters outline how to build mosaics and make LEGO games. Bedford includes vivid pictures and exceptionally clear instructions and tips.
Appendix A is called "Brickopedia" and it "notes why you might have certain pieces in your collection, suggests how to use them, or in some cases, just offers and interesting anecdote about the part."
As I said, this book is meant for a LEGO builder who already has solid building skills but is looking to advance. There is information on design grids and how to design your own projects as well as tips on how to think like a model designer.
The book is fascinating and teaches some skills that are important for the builder who wants to advance beyond merely following LEGO instructions. And even kids in my LEGO Club who aren't at that level yet, love to look through the pictures and read some of the tips.
The Unofficial LEGO Technic Builders' Guide by Pawet Sariel Kmiec is a thorough manual on Technic building. As the book states, LEGO Technic is a more advanced building system than the regular bricks. The three principals of Technic building are: Authenticity, Functionality, and Challenging building. What this means is Technic creations are real-life models with working functions.
As the book points out, Technic is challenging, and creating one's own Technic creations, even more difficult, which is why this book is so useful. Part One goes through the basics of building, including such topics as weight distribution, friction and traction, and rolling resistance. It also covers the various pieces and their functions and discusses axels, busses and joints.
Part Two focuses on mechanics and outlines gears and power transmission basics, along with other ways of making the creations move, like chains, pulleys, levers and linkages. The author gets into even more advanced topics like motors and wheeled suspension systems.
This book is definitely for a more advanced LEGO builder, but anyone who is interested in understanding Technic building should buy this book. It walks you through everything you need to know to successfully build amazing, functioning creations.
The LEGO Ideas Book by Daniel Lipkowitz is my favorite of these three books, probably because it is much more basic than the other two. My LEGO skills leave much to be desired, so I need more basic instructions! This book is great for the LEGO builder who is a little younger and who wants more of a challenge than his regular sets. Lipkowitz gives tons of great tips on how to build all kinds of creations including animal houses and other buildings, as well as rocket ships.
The best part of this book is definitely the pictures. I also like that it doesn't give brick-by-brick instructions. Rather, it provides building principles for how to build various structures. Kids can read the tips and follow the pictures and learn to make all sorts of original creations.