Customer Reviews: The Lego Ideas Book: Unlock Your Imagination
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on September 21, 2011
As a child of the 80's, I remember fondly the old LEGO Idea books. In those books, there were lots of photos of LEGO creations, and instructions that showed how to build some of the models in the book. I remember the Lego Idea Book 6000 the best, that's the one that follows Bill and Mary as they build a house, explore a city, travel to space, and then back in time to a medieval castle. When I saw the title of this book, the obvious connection was to those old books, so how does it compare?

The one thing that's missing is the instructions - this is not an instruction manual. Also, unlike Sean Kenney's smaller books (Cool City,Cool Cars and Trucks, and Cool Robots), this is a big book - nearly 200 pages! Like Sean's books, this book is filled with photos of LEGO creations. Like Sean's books, the intent of the book is to give you ideas on how to build things. You'll find that a lot of ideas can be crammed into 200 pages.

The book is broken up into sections, essentially these are: vehicles, buildings, spaceships & robots, castles, pirates & adventure, and real world creations. This last section is very interesting, showing you things such as picture frames and pencil holders made out of LEGO. As you can see, like the old LEGO Idea book, this book hits on many of LEGO's core themes.

Each of the sections starts out with a two page spread of useful parts that can be used to build creations in that section. I found that even these pages gave me ideas and started me thinking on how a particular part could be used. After that you'll find a number of creations beautifully photographed, often with multiple views which come in handy if you are attempting to reverse engineer one of the creations so that you can build it yourself. I can't tell you how many times I've looked at a LEGO truck and wished I could see how the frame was built. The multiple angle photos in this book help so that you won't experience that problem. At the end of each section, you'll find a few pages where you "Meet the Builder." These include some interview style questions where you learn about the builder who wrote a particular section of the book. I was surprised to find that one of the builders is only 18!

I think LEGO fans of all ages will enjoy the book, but young children might have a hard time handling the book due to its size. The lack of instructions also mean that it is probably more suited to an experienced LEGO builder - either an older child or a parent who enjoys building with younger children. My six year old son enjoys paging through the book, but it's a bit much for my 3 year old to handle. Neither would be able to build anything in this book without my help.

Overall, I think this is another great book option to inspire LEGO builders - but remember this book is about ideas and imagination - and you can't write instructions for that. If you know what you are buying, I think you'll really like this book, but don't expect it to be what it is not. If you want instructions, try one of the Brickmaster books such as LEGO City Brickmaster.
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on September 18, 2011
This book is compiled from models by 6 Lego builders, each tackling certain themes - planes, trains & automobiles; town & country; out of this work; in days of old; a world of adventure; and make and keep. A list of Lego elements used is shown with each of these 6 sections. Followed by the models. The last part of each section is "meet the builder" which is Q&A with the builder with questions like, "How old were you when you started using Lego?", "What are some of your top Lego tips?", etc.

Kids love to look and gawk at the models in this book. The models range from very simple, such as furniture and rickshaw, to the complicated houses and hot air balloon. The creative level of these builders is amazing and the models inspirational. However, don't try to build (most of) these models yourself unless you have been collecting various Lego elements through the years. There are different views of the models -- usually 2 of the following: front view, rear view, side view, top view. Many of the "unique" or special elements are not found in Lego's Pick A Brick store. The ones that can be found in the Pick A Brick store are sometimes listed under different names in the book. This is why this book only gets 3 stars from me.

Things I would like to see in the 2nd edition of this book:
1. An index at the end of the book. -- a listing of various models, such as Biplane, Microplane and Triplane, instead of just Airplane in the table of contents page.
2. Lego element ID used. -- this would help in Pick A Brick store.
3. Using more standard parts instead of the specialized elements. -- even better if the builders can build using certain tubs and sets, or recommend the sets to buy to get most of the specialized elements.
4. Element count and list for the less straight forwards models. -- yes, this will take up space but not as much as you'd think.

Despite all these shortcomings, I would still recommend this book to children over 3 years old, especially those who love to build. They will not be able to build most of the models with the Lego pieces you have at home, but hopefully they will learn to substitute and improvise on the smaller models of this book.
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on October 16, 2011
We bought this book for our 8 year old son's birthday and he loves it. In contrast to other reviewer's negative comments that the book lacks detailed instruction, this is the feature our son likes best. In his words, "you can use your brain and think about it."
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on May 29, 2012
While I truly enjoy this book I feel that the title caption of The LEGO Ideas Book should be Unlock your Imagination (and your Wallet). The book provides tremendous inspiration for LEGO creations and is simply a joy to just flip through and explore what others have managed to achieved with beloved LEGO bricks. However, what it also may inspire is the need to accumulate more LEGO pieces.

This book is not an instruction manual. While it provides pictures and is pretty lengthy at 200 pages, the book does not give step by step detail of the models. The models are intended for inspiration. Tips are provided but I feel that the books is intended to give LEGO fans with a penchant for using their own imagination rather than instruction guides as a start-off point. You will get tons of ideas as each page is filled with ideas but you will largely have to use your own creativity to fill in the blanks.

The scale and types of creations and inspirations are very diverse. There are minifigure scale bridges and houses, microscale creations, mosiacs, space, castle, city, board games, etc. There is something for everyone.

If you or your child own a basic bucket of LEGO and want more ideas of what to do with that bucket of bricks, this book is probably not for you. As mentioned in other reviews, a lot of the inspirational creations use unique and hard-to-acquire pieces that usually aren't present in a basic bucket. Even with more of the simplistic creations, there are a fair amount of wedges/slopes that usually aren't provided in a substantial quantity in starter LEGO buckets. I've been collecting LEGO on and off since I was a child. I am now an adult and can't shake off the LEGO monkey off my back. That being said, I have a pretty extensive and diverse collection of LEGO pieces that may be suitable to the ideas provided in this book. Even then, if I wanted to replicate some of the creations exactly, I probably wouldn't have the pieces in the right color. This is something I don't mind, but it gives you an idea of how detailed and customized some of these creations are.

This book is a great find if you take it as it is. Most people will probably not be able to recreate a lot of these models simply because some of them are highly detailed and require a fair amount of brick but it does provide you with inspirations of what can be done. In fact, some of the models will require a fair amount of investment into bricks from Pick a Brick or brick inventory sellers. The book wasn't intended for readers to duplicate models but to use the models for ideas, tips and inspiration. In that area, this book excels very well as the author compiled vast and diverse ideas for many, many creations.

Highly recommended!
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on April 10, 2012
We thought this book would be great since my 5 year old is just getting into Legos. Opened it up and realized that every project in this book looks like it requires non-standard, specialty Lego kit pieces- and lots of them. I didn't see any projects in this book that you could build using standard Lego pieces. Returned the book the next day.
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on January 1, 2013
When I purchased this book for my son I thought it would give him ideas and instructions to help him make projects with the box of loose legos he got from Santa. I believe the box had about 700 pieces. He also had previously recieved a few boxes of legos for his birthday - spongebob pirate, police car, etc. When he was younger we used Mega Blocks. My mother had a deck of cards for it (probably publised a long time ago) that showed a project and then the steps and blocks to make the project. They were a great idea!! I thought this book would be similar to those cards. It is not. It just shows projects people made using legos (and my son doesnt have any of those parts so he could never replicate them). And it certainly doesnt tell you step by step how to do ANYTHING. I realize that legos are meant to help build your imagination so step by step isnt their thing, as far as the loose lego boxes go. That's why they sell sets that give step by step and help build projects. But he is young and new to legos and I thought it would get him more interested. This book was a waste of money for us.
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on September 27, 2011
This book contains great full-page spreads on Lego projects that anyone could adapt. The book is separated into thematic chapters including:

Houses and Landscaping
Lego-built Real Objects

Potential buyers should be aware of a few issues.

-This book does not contain step-by-step instructions. It provides pictures for inspiration as well as some building tips, but it is not a detailed how-to guide.
-Although another reviewer complained that the book requires too many specialized pieces, I did not find this to be a problem. Many of the builds include variations, and the whole purpose of the book is to help builders adapt concepts to their own builds instead of creating exact copies of the images in the book. In fact, the book has pages with "useful pieces for this type of theme" but these are hardly restrictive.

My wife especially likes the "Meet the Builder" features in each chapter that include a short bio about those who contributed to the book.

I would eagerly buy a sequel to this book that focused on other Lego themes. The images are fantastic, the ideas are clever, and I think I, as a novice MOCer, can learn a lot from this book and share it with my son once he graduates from DUPLO to LEGO. At $15, this hardcover book is a steal.
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on January 6, 2012
Let me start by saying I may have misunderstood what I was getting. If you are looking for a book to give you ideas and instructions for building the aforementioned items.. this is NOT it. If my son and I were more familiar and better versed in Lego building it may have been better rated by me. What it IS is a book to get you thinking of things you can figure out how to build on your own. Thus far we have only ever had sets to build, with instructions.. I bought him a 1600 piece Lego block box as a Christmas gift in conjunction with this book and it isn't working out as well as I had hoped. You must be able to figure out how to construct the things in the book yourself, and for nearly ALL of them you need specialized pieces rather than basic blocks. Long story short, I feel the cover was much more exciting than the contents, and possibly a little misleading.
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on October 12, 2012
I bought this for my kid (he's 9).

Despite having almost every Lego piece known to man, the things in this book have many specialized pieces, so unless you actually own EVERY Lego piece, most of it cannot be made.

The stuff in the book is cool, but better for looking at than actually trying to build. I would have liked to see a book which uses more basic pieces.
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on June 2, 2015
The description of this book is somewhat deceiving. The pages show a lot of Lego specialty pieces (from particular Lego models) that are slightly reconfigured. One would need to have purchased nearly every specialty model to build the forms shown in the book. Also, if one does happen to have the pieces needed, there are no "instructions" or steps shown to build the model shown.

The book is cleverly annotated with captions and well-photographed. Many children will enjoy looking at the photos and reading or having the captions read to them.

If, however, one is looking for ideas for a child to use the hundred or thousand of Legos sitting in a box, this book will not help.
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