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LEGO books – a holiday shopping guide

by admin on November 27, 2013

in LEGO Books & Magazines

Today I would like to discuss some excellent LEGO books that you might put on your wish-list this holiday season. Although many of us keep up with the LEGO hobby online through LEGO forums, blogs, and picture-sharing sites, there are times when getting unplugged and just sitting down with a good, old-fashioned book is the best way to get inspired. This year’s LEGO publications have been particularly excellent, so if you have a LEGO fan in the family, consider getting them a LEGO book for the holidays. They are not expensive and they can provide days and even years of enjoyment – especially the ones that also provide tutorials, building instructions and references. And if you are a LEGO fan, ask for a LEGO book or two from Santa; they will increase your skills to a whole new level. 🙂

Great LEGO Books by DK Publishing

LEGO BOOKS TO INSTRUCT & INSPIRE: By far my favorite LEGO books are the ones that feature great LEGO models, and also include instructions on how to build at least some of them. In this regard LEGO books published by No Starch Press are the leaders. They publish books written by some of the most accomplished LEGO fans, and even current or former LEGO designers. The quality of the books is really top notch; including the book cover, the paper, the printing, the building instructions and the images. Below are some of their publications I highly recommend.

The LEGO Build-It Book: Amazing Vehicles (Volume 1 & 2) – These two books by Nathanael Kuipers and Mattia Zamboni take one LEGO Creator set (#5867 LEGO Creator Super Speedster) and using just the handful of parts from that one set provide 20 more (10 of each book) incredible models using very creative building techniques! (If you don’t have the set you can also get the parts easily on BrickLink or LEGO’s online Pick-A-Brick Store.) If you would like to expand your LEGO building skills get these books! You won’t be disappointed. The books are recommended for ages 7 and up. I wrote a full review on the first book here: The LEGO Built-It Book: Amazing Vehicles. You can get either or both of these books on Amazon. Here are the links: AMAZING VEHICLES 1 & AMAZING VEHICLES 2

LEGO Books - Amazing Vehicles

The LEGO Adventure Book (Volume 1 & 2) – These books are written by Megan Rothrock who is an accomplished LEGO builder herself, and features the work of some of the best known names in the LEGO fan community. The books are in a narrative style, and as the story unfolds we get introduced to builders and their models. Many of the LEGO models include step-by-step instructions so you can build them yourself. The first book covers LEGO Cars, Castles, Dinosaurs and more by Craig Mandeville, Are J. Heiseldal, Moritz Nolting, Jon Hall, Pete Reid, Peter Morris, Mark Stafford, Aaron Andrews, Mike Psiaki, Katie Walker, Carl Greatrix, Sylvain Amacher and Daniel August Krentz. The second book features LEGO Spaceships, Pirates, Dragons and more by Mark Stafford, Are J. Heiseldal, Arjan Oude Kotte, Barney Main, Birgitte Jonsgard, Tommy Williamson, Tyler Clites, Marco den Besten, Yvonne Doyle, and Daniel August Krentz. Both books can be enjoyed by children, teens and adults. I wrote a full review on the first book here: LEGO Book Review: The LEGO Adventure Book. You fan get either or both of these books on Amazon. Here are the links: LEGO ADVENTURE BOOK 1 & LEGO ADVENTURE BOOK 2

LEGO Books - The LEGO Adventure Book

LEGO Space: Building the Future – This book is written by Peter Reid and Tim Goddard, and is my most favorite LEGO book this year. It pays tribute to many of the best LEGO space themes like LEGO Classic Space, LEGO Ice Planet, LEGO Blacktron, LEGO Space Police and more, with beautifully detailed models. It also includes step-by-step instructions for a dozen or so of those models. And it comes with a great sci-fi story that waves all the characters, robots and spaceships together into one book. As you flip through the pages, you will be reading the story, building the models, and looking at some of the best and most inspiring LEGO space creations. I wrote a full review on this book here: LEGO Book – LEGO Space: Building the Future. You can get this book on Amazon. Here is the link: LEGO SPACE: BUILDING THE FUTURE

LEGO Book Review - LEGO Space Building the Future

LEGO BOOKS FOR YOUR COFFEE TABLE: These LEGO books have only one thing in mind; to awe and inspire you with some of the best LEGO creations, and also to introduce people to the world and art of the LEGO hobby – much beyond just being a kids’ toy. You can leave these books on your coffee-table and flip through them any time you like, or let your friends and family browse through them to understand what you are into. These books are also published by No Starch Press. Below are some I recommend.

Beautiful LEGO – I’m planning to write a full review on this book in the near future, but at this point I would just say that this is one of the most beautiful LEGO books ever published. It is a picture book with few words, and simply featuring some of the best LEGO models. The author, Mike Doyle, is an internationally acclaimed LEGO artist (some of his models are also included in the book), and he has an eye for picking out the best LEGO models to represent the hobby. This book is a true testament to the art of LEGO that tweens, teens and adults could all enjoy. You can get this book on Amazon. Here is the link: BEAUTIFUL LEGO

LEGO Books - Beautiful LEGO

The Cult of LEGO – This book, written by John Baichtal and Joe Meno, was published a couple of years ago, but I would like to mention it because it explores the history of LEGO, the LEGO hobby, as well as the LEGO fan community in a very comprehensive way. It includes everything from interviews with LEGO fans, the history (and controversy) of minifigures, LEGO as a medium of art and story-telling, huge LEGO models, tiny LEGO models, computer-aided LEGO building, resources for LEGO fans, LEGO robotics, the history of LEGO Users Groups (LUGs) and LEGO conventions, using LEGO for modeling, marketing, therapy and more. It is a fascinating introduction to the world of the LEGO hobby. And of course it comes with tons of pictures for you to feast your eyes on. I would recommend this book to teens and adults who are either already LEGO fans, or are new to the LEGO hobby. You can get this book on Amazon: THE CULT OF LEGO

LEGO RESOURCE BOOKS & MANUALS: These are the manuals of the LEGO hobby. Everything from building techniques to programming LEGO robots. They are meant to aid the most serious of LEGO fans. These books are also published by No Starch Press. Below are some of the best ones.

The Unofficial LEGO Builder’s Guide – Written by Allan Bedford, this book is the ultimate guide for LEGO fans. It includes tips and techniques building minifigure scale, Mini-Land scale, micro-scale, life-size or larger scale, LEGO sculptures, mosaics, design-grids and more. It goes through all of this in a very systematic way, explaining every aspect of building with LEGO. Illustrations are full color. The book also includes a “Brickopedia” at the end of the book with most LEGO elements categorized by part number, description, and history. You can get this book on Amazon. Here is the link: THE UNOFFICIAL LEGO BUILDER’S GUIDE

The Unofficial LEGO Technic Builder’s Guide – If you would like to learn how to build with LEGO using motors, gears, pneumatics, pulleys and linkages to make LEGO models that really move, this is the book for you. It also includes advanced mechanics like wheeled steering systems, suspensions systems, tracked vehicles, transmissions and more. Step-by-step instructions with full color illustrations are included to help you learn and build. You can get this book on Amazon. Here is the link: TECHNIC BUILDER’S GUIDE

The LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Laboratory – This book is fresh off the press, and it offers an in-depth guide to the many features of the new LEGO Mindstorms EV 3 kit. It is a thick manual (over 400 pages) that covers everything to unlock the full potential of the EV3. Besides covering the fundamentals of robotics, it also gives step-by-step instructions for five LEGO Mindstorms robots to build with your EV3 set. Illustrations are in black and white. You can get this book on Amazon: MINDSTORMS LABORATORY

LEGO Books - LEGO Guides

LEGO VISUAL DICTIONARIES: Another publisher that has a whole array of gorgeous LEGO books is DK Publishing. Their target audience is younger LEGO fans, however many of their books (especially their visual dictionaries) can be enjoyed by teens and adults as well. Below are some of their latest publications I highly recommend.

LEGO Minifigure Year by Year – This is the ultimate visual history of the LEGO minifigure, packed with fantastic photos and profiles of more than 2,000 minifigs. It includes interesting facts and statistics about the minifigs featured, going all the way back from the 1970s. The book is full of gorgeous large pictures, but I also found myself getting lost in the descriptions and details – especially about the history of the early minifigures. I’m pretty sure I will be reading this book for months! Oh, I almost forgot to mention that inside the front cover the book also includes three minifigures; a classic LEGO townsperson, a Star Wars Stormtrooper, and a robber. Another, similar book is the LEGO Minifigures Character Encyclopedia (follow the link for review), focusing only on the LEGO Collectible Minifigures. You can get either or both of these books on Amazon. Here are the links: VISUAL DICTIONARY & CHARACTER ENCYCLOPEDIA

LEGO Books - LEGO Minifigures

The are a lot more LEGO books, but I think these should be enough for now to get your interest. You can check out the full selection of LEGO Books by No Starch Press here, and by DK Publishing here.

What do you think? How do you like the LEGO books mentioned here? Any of them are on your wish-list this holiday season? Any other ones you would like to recommend? Feel free to share and discuss in the comment section below! 😉

And you might also like to check out the LEGO Books section for more suggestions and reviews, or select from the following related posts:

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

NinjaMelissa November 27, 2013 at 10:06 AM

I have the Ninjago Encyclopedia and it is amazingly accurate! I hope they update it to incorporate the 2013/2014 sets!

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~EliteBrick~ November 27, 2013 at 11:05 AM

I have The Ninjago Character Encyclopeida, The Star Wars Character Encylopeida, Yoda Choronicles, LEGO Ideas Book, 4 of schoolastics Ninjago books, and the LEGO Star wars Visual Dictionary. I really want that LEGO Space book.

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ninja of stealth November 27, 2013 at 12:13 PM

I kind of want to get that “LEGO minifigure, year by year.” book, my sister has an old one and it would be cool to have a more “newer” book of minifigs! 😀

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DX ZX KENDO NRG PWR JAY-MOUTH OF LIGHTNING (Seriously i have a mouth of lightning) :) November 27, 2013 at 12:16 PM

I have the ninjago encyclopedia! 😀 It came with Kimono Lloyd and he is epic!!

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Rose November 27, 2013 at 1:15 PM

Is there a book that focuses more on micro building than the others?

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admin November 27, 2013 at 1:48 PM

Rose, several of the books have a micro-buildging section. Is there any specific style or theme you are looking for?

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Rose November 27, 2013 at 3:36 PM

I’m working on a warehouse right now so architecture is most important. The scale is such that a 1 x 1 round with a round 1 x 1 plate represents a 6 foot person.

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admin November 27, 2013 at 6:56 PM

Rose, if you are working on microscale architecture I strongly recommend the Architecture Studio set. Although it is not specifically micro-scale, it does explore styles of architecture and design that I think you would find very beneficial. I know it is an expensive set, so as an alternative I recommend that you also check out Tom’s project where he uses the Architecture Studio set exploring different concepts of design and architecture: http://thebrickblogger.com/2013/10/lego-architecture-studio-30-day-challenge/

I would also recommend checking out the LEGO micro-building section: http://thebrickblogger.com/category/your-lego-niche/lego-microscale/ There is a series of videos by LEGO designers specifically teaching concepts of micro-scale building. Here is the direct link to the videos: http://thebrickblogger.com/2013/03/lego-micro-building-tutorials/

As far as books, I don’t know any that is specifically all about micro-scale, there is however sections of books that addresses the topic. For example The LEGO Builder’s Guide I mention in the article above, has a section on micro-building that introduces the topic and gives tips and tricks, like how to transfer larger structures into micro-scale.

Also, since you specifically enjoy architecture, the LEGO Architecture series would be an excellent study for you. I’m publishing an article tomorrow about this topic that you might want to check out. You could even just get the instruction books for those sets to learn from. They are not very expensive: http://www.bricklink.com/catalogList.asp?catType=I&catString=629

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Håkan November 28, 2013 at 4:22 AM

If you’re low on cash, the manual for the architecture set should be available as a pdf on the Lego homepage.

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admin November 28, 2013 at 9:55 AM

Oh, yeah, good point! I forgot about that! 🙂

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TheBookLady.ca November 27, 2013 at 1:28 PM

My kids are crazy for any of the LEGO books by DK Publishing…can never have enough!

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Bohrok Tru November 27, 2013 at 4:39 PM

-droolz on keyboard-

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Tom November 28, 2013 at 3:19 AM

If your doing micro scale a very useful source is the lego builders guide by bedford for scale and proportion.

The other book and it’s one I use on almost every build is the big unofficial lego builders guide “build your own city”. Not too sure how easy it is to get if your in the USA but it is brilliant

cheers

tom

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admin November 28, 2013 at 9:54 AM

Thanks, Tom! 🙂

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Philip Delgado February 13, 2014 at 2:32 PM

The build quality of the books containing free minifigs is, to put it politely, atrocious. As a librarian I cannot recommend these books for anything other than display purposes. While they are beautifully illustrated, the spines will fray and the pages will separate quite quickly, thus they typically last 6-8 months in circulation before I have to take aggressive repair measures in order to keep them circulating.

Just an FYI.

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admin February 13, 2014 at 3:05 PM

Philip, thanks for sharing that! I have some of those books myself and I haven’t seen any problems. But I don’t have kids, so maybe too much use by little hands makes the books come apart. It might be a good idea to contact DK Publishing about your experience.

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