Friday, February 19, 2010


Name of Book: I LEGO N.Y.
Created by: Christoph Niemann
Available at: Amazon (Disclosure: LMOTD received a review copy)
You may recall that about a year ago, a New York Times blog post featuring sketches in LEGO form of various things (focused on New York city) became something of a viral phenomenon. That post is now coming out in book form, with 13 new illustrations added to the 17 included in the original article. I recently received a review copy and was surprised to find that the book is printed as a small board book - perfect for withstanding use by kids. While none of the sketches are particularly exciting from a technical standpoint, many of them are surprisingly effective at matching the captions. Scale is treated as a non-object, with some pages intentionally referring to things as being at very different scales for comedic effect. Beyond the zen-like simplicity of the illustrations, I think that this book could serve a purpose as a kid-friendly idea book. LEGO hasn't published an official idea book in years (the life cycle of a LEGO set is too short now for that to make any sense - it's no longer safe to assume that a special part will still be available in 6 months, never mind a few years later). While there are many ideas and model photographs online in various venues, I haven't seen anything else that attempts to take very basic (and common) parts and challenges you to see them as everyday objects, people, and places at various scales. Parents who aren't comfortable letting their kids loose online but still want to give their kids LEGO-related ideas will love this (I'm sure it will also help that you could build your own version of anything in the book without more than a handful of parts). While the book is fairly New York-centric, only 6 of the pictures are specific enough to be confusing for non-New Yorkers.

While I'd generally point people interested in LEGO and New York towards more advanced models like Sean Kenney's creations, this book might be a bit more appropriate for youngsters (and parents) trying to figure out how to make something evocative with very few parts.

I LEGO NY officially comes out on March 1st but Amazon appears to be selling it now.

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