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Instruction books with simple LEGO bricks

by admin on December 14, 2016

in LEGO Books & Magazines

Instead of buying more and more new LEGO sets to keep children building and engaged with their LEGO collection, you can encourage them to explore the possibilities with what they already have. The LEGO Ideas book series and the LEGO Adventure Book series are particularly excellent for older kids and teens (we have reviewed both series previously – see links at the end of this post). Today I wanted to show you two more book series specifically for younger children with lots of simple and fun LEGO models. 🙂

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BRICK BOOK SERIES BY WARREN ELSMORE: British LEGO fan Warren Elsmore is known for his excellent LEGO instruction books for adult LEGO fans (see: Brick City, Brick Wonders, Brick Flicks, Brick History and Brick Vehicles), and he recently also released a couple of books for younger builders; Brick Animals and Brick Cars and Trucks. To give you an idea how these books came about, Warren shares the following in the introduction:

“When I work at public events building LEGO models, I’m often asked the same questions: ‘Why does LEGO produce all these special parts now? Back in my day it was all just bricks.’ Well, to prove that you can create anything from just bricks, we decided to write this book.

The idea that The LEGO Company has changed its kits and that specialist pieces are new isn’t really correct. Even back in 1950, when you could buy a box of basic 2×4 bricks, The LEGO Company still sold special doors and windows! Wheels did take a little longer to appear, but they have been a staple of any LEGO model for 50 years now. So when we decided to build a model out of ‘basic bricks’, we first had to decide what a ‘basic brick’ was.

For these books, my team took their inspiration from the LEGO Classic series of sets. Each of these sets provides exactly what those visitors I meet at public events ask about: a big box of LEGO bricks. Of course, not every brick is a standard 2×4 brick, or a 2×2 plate, or 1×3 slope, but everyone should recognize the collection of LEGO pieces. Color is important for some of these models, although the colored bricks available in the LEGO Classic boxes would not often be the right ones – that’s when having multiple LEGO Classic boxes comes in handy! Of course, when you’re building these models yourself you can change the colors according to the bricks you have or the color you want the model to be.

Finally, if you want to build one of the models in this book but don’t have exactly the right pieces – don’t worry! We spent lots of time trying to decide if we should use one type of slope over another, but in the end it’s a very personal decision. If you decide that your model looks better with a different piece, that’s great! Remember, there is no right or wrong with LEGO. As long as you’ve enjoyed building the model, that that’s all that matters.

Brick Animals: 40 Clever and Creative Ideas to Make from Classic LEGO includes 40 original, ingenious, and unique buildable projects to make from LEGO pieces. Projects include a butterfly, parrot, raccoon, lion, rabbit, duck, beetle, polar bear, fox, elephant, panda, seal, bumble bee, piranha, goat, snake, cat, pig, sheep, cow, stork, lobster, frog, turkey, shark, horse, giraffe, camel, swan, crab, beaver, antelope, warthog, mouse, spider, ant, gorilla, rhinoceros, flamingo, and mosquito. While the projects are simple, and most of them use fewer than 100 bricks, children do get introduced to some very clever building-techniques. I think even older kids and adults would enjoy building these models.

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Brick Cars and Trucks: 40 Clever and Creative Ideas to Make from Classic LEGO is very similar to the previous book, but this time focusing on vehicles. They include a dragster, monster truck, garbage truck, tractor trailer cab, tractor trailer, convertible, tow truck, school bus, VW camper, forklift, mobile crane, sports car, digger, snowplow, cement mixer, fire engine, police car, race car, car carrier, quad bike, Rolls-Royce, tanker truck, tractor, bulldozer, dump truck, Ford Model T, cherry picker, smart car, MINI Cooper, taxi, VW Beetle, vintage car, flying car, Go Kart, moon buggy, double-decker bus, ice cream truck, jeep, and Hummer. The models are mostly smaller than minifig scale, although some of them are sized for minifigures.

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As you can see, the focus of these books is to use basic LEGO elements – mostly from the LEGO Classic Brick Boxes. This is great news for LEGO builders, as they don’t have to search for a bunch of specialty parts. If you have some of the LEGO Classic sets, you should be able to build most of the models with maybe some minor adjustments.

LEGO Classic Sets Reviews

Both books are 96 pages, on high quality, glossy paper, published by Barron’s Books. The instructions are clear, although I have to say the images are a tad small – the same feedback I gave on the previous books by Warren. It is not such a big issue on most of the models, except for the black ones that are a bit difficult to see. Other than this, both books are excellent, and could keep a child busy for a long while with a lot of great models. The books are $13.99 each, currently available on Amazon for $9.79, which is a great deal. Here are the links to both books, if you would like to check them out:

BUILD IT! BOOK SERIES BY JENNIFER KEMMETER: This is another book series which focuses on providing alternate instructions for the LEGO Classic Brick Boxes. The books are large, with nice quality printing, and easy to see instruction steps. The models are simpler than in the previous book series – similar to the alternate instructions that already come with the LEGO Classic Brick Boxes. They are perfect for young children, who should be able to follow the instructions and build the models themselves. There are several volumes in this collection, so you can choose the ones that fit your child’s interest the most.

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Build It! Volume 1: Make Supercool Models with Your LEGO Classic Set features 25 models, including animals airplanes, boats, houses, and more. They all can be built from the #10693 LEGO Classic Brick Box, so if you have that set, you are ready to go. But even if you have one of the other LEGO Classic sets, or a good selection of basic bricks, you should be able to build all the models, as they are quite simple. 88 pages, recommended for ages 5+.

Build It! Volume 2: Make Supercool Models with Your LEGO Classic Set includes instructions for 17 models that are slightly larger than in the previous books. They include prehistoric animals, desert animals, and more boats and airplanes. They can all be built from the #10695 LEGO Classic Brick Box, so if you have that set, you will be able to build all the models easily. 86 pages, recommended for ages 5+.

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Build It! Volume 3: Make Supercool Models with Your LEGO Classic Set also features 17 models with airplanes, houses, boats, animals and some school related projects. They can all be built from the #10698 LEGO Classic Brick Box. 86 pages, recommended for ages 5+.

Build It! World Landmarks: Make Supercool Models with Your Favorite LEGO Parts is a bit different than the previous books in the series. Instead of a mixed collection of projects, the book focuses only on landmarks; The Empire State Building, The Eiffel Tower, and the Taj Mahal. Each of the projects still uses simple LEGO elements from the #10698 LEGO Classic Brick Box and the #21050 LEGO Architecture Studio sets (or similar bricks from your own collection). 70 pages, recommended for ages 5+.

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These are the four volumes that has been released so far in the Build It! series, but there will be more to come next year; Build It! Things That Float: Make Supercool Models with Your Favorite LEGO Parts, Build It! Things That Go: Make Supercool Models with Your Favorite LEGO Parts, and Build It! Things That Fly: Make Supercool Models with Your Favorite LEGO Parts. As you can see, this is going to be a very nice series that can keep young LEGO fans busy for a long time. The books are $15.99 each, and are available on Amazon. Here are the links:

If you are wondering which series is better to get, I would say that the Build It! books are the most suitable for young children who are just starting out with LEGO (or transitioning from LEGO DUPLO to LEGO). The models are simple, and the instructions are big and easy to follow. While the models by Warren Elsmore also mainly use pieces from the LEGO Classic sets, they are more sophisticated. There is no age recommendation on these books, but I would say they would be enjoyable for ages 7+.

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I hope you find this review helpful for choosing the right LEGO instruction books for your children. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comment section below. And if you have any of the books already you are welcome to share your own review as well. 😉

And you might also like to check out the following related posts:

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

PrashBricks December 14, 2016 at 2:21 PM

It’s funny, but I like the other bricks a bit more!

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admin December 14, 2016 at 2:56 PM

What do you mean?

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PrashBricks December 15, 2016 at 1:18 PM

I mean the special parts, like part nr. 52031.

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Håkan December 15, 2016 at 10:04 PM

Yeah, but they’re outside the books’ focus…

They’re aimed at people that don’t own a multitude of specialized bricks…

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admin December 15, 2016 at 10:09 PM

Yes, that’s the whole point. Using only pieces from the LEGO Classic sets, or other very basic pieces.

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LegoMom December 14, 2016 at 2:59 PM

Thanks for this review. Great Christmas present idea! So Build It books for younger kids and the Brick Animals and Brick Cars for older kids, right?

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admin December 14, 2016 at 9:54 PM

Yes, I would suggest the Build It series for younger kids because of the bigger pictures and simpler designs. 🙂

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Håkan December 15, 2016 at 8:10 AM

Even the Build It animals look better than the ones in this year’s gift calendar…

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admin December 15, 2016 at 12:21 PM

Really? They weren’t good? I don’t have that particular Calendar, so I only looked at it briefly.

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Håkan December 15, 2016 at 6:05 PM

I don’t own it, but they’re being reviewed at Brickset, and it’s often hard to see what animal the designer was thinking of…

They’re small, and made out of basic bricks, but they still seem rather sub-par…

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admin December 15, 2016 at 10:07 PM

Well, it was a free set, so I guess they didn’t put that much effort into it. I did like last year’s holiday sets better. The Gingerbread House was particularly sweet. 🙂

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Stephen Fender March 8, 2017 at 1:57 PM

I just released my first ideas book, designed along very similar lines as these.

When Bricks Get Their Wings – A Big Book of LEGO Aviation Ideas. It’s on Amazon now. ISBN: 978-0692845998

Stephen

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admin March 8, 2017 at 3:34 PM

Stephen, I will be in touch with you by email.

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Raymond August 12, 2017 at 7:48 PM

I want to buy the “Build It! Volume 1: Make Supercool Models with Your LEGO Classic Set” book and other books from Hong Kong. How can I get it in Hong Kong.

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admin August 13, 2017 at 10:06 AM

Raymond, I’m in the US, so I don’t really know how to help with that. Do you have access to Amazon?

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