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The Lego Mindstorms NXT Zoo! An Unofficial, Kid-Friendly Guide to Building Robotic Animals with the Lego Mindstorms NXT Paperback – February 22, 2008

3.2 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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  • The Lego Mindstorms NXT Zoo! An Unofficial, Kid-Friendly Guide to Building Robotic Animals with the Lego Mindstorms NXT
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  • The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 Discovery Book: A Beginner's Guide to Building and Programming Robots
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Fay Rhodes is co-author of The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT Idea Book(No Starch), a 2007 member of LEGO's MINDSTORMS Community Partners (MCP), and the only female contributor to the NXT Step Blog.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: No Starch Press; 1 edition (February 22, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593271700
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593271701
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.7 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,046,362 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Length: 1:23 Mins
Here are some of my own models taken from the book. I hope you enjoy them.
Comment 22 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
Hi everyone,

I received this book last week Monday. When I bought this book, I was very sceptical about this book because a peacock on wheels on the cover was a little strange. But I also build a Giraffe with a fifth middle leg based on the book from Benjamin Erwin "Creative Projects with Lego Mindstorms (RIS kit)" which seems also unusual at that time. Also the book of Benjamin Erwin is also an excellent book. So this is of no surprise that I bought this book also.

My skepticism melted as snow for the sun when I saw the creatures and the building instructions inside the book. This book is clearly written with its audience in mind, ie Children. The building instructions are very clear and detailled. The explanations are also easy to follow.

What could be improved, is the explanation of the NXT-G programming language. In my opinion they go not deep enough. An in depth coverage of the NXT motors, touch, ultrasonic, light sensors is missing. Expecially the "Why" and "What for" questions are not answered. But that is already written in Jim Kelly's book "Lego Mindstorms NXT-G Programming Guide". Both books are complementary to each other. So if you buy the NXT Zoo, I think it is a good idea to by the NXT-G programming language also.

I build "Spiderbot" without any problem (I am an adult, I love robotics and bought my first RIS set in august 2005). I found it easy to build, despite the fact those images are not in color. Using color should have added an extra "touch" to this fine book but it would make it also much more expensive. Nevertheless all those images give a very clear and detailled view how to construct the animals.
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Format: Paperback
In a nutshell: What a great book.

As the author states in the Preface, there are plenty of books for adults that are geared towards NXT, but this book is 100% focused on its primary audience: kids.

First, the subject matter - animals. You can't go wrong with giving kids building and programming plans to build their own skunk, alligator, and dinosaur (only 3 of 9 great little robots). And the designs don't just LOOK like their counterparts - the author has provided programming that makes them mimic the real-life animal. (And the book's website has instructions for adding realistic sounds.)

Second, the building instructions - easy to follow. The author not only provides some of the clearest NXT building instructions to date, but she also provides a complete checklist of the parts required (and the website has a useful chart for locating the needed parts). Also nice is the fact that the list of parts NOT included with the Education Base Kit is very small and the author tells you where the parts can be ordered.

Finally, some random musings:

1. Nice mini-tutorial on using Peeron to locate parts
2. Complete walkthroughs of the programs (with accurate screenshots) for each robot
3. The appendices are a nice addition, with materials for teachers and troubleshooting tips
4. Companion website has additional material for teachers and kids

All in all, the book is a worthy addition to the NXT bookshelf. Even adult fans will enjoy the designs and some of the very smart little design tricks that are shared. And kids are going to love it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My son has been doing Lego robotics through a school program all year, and he finally saved enough money to buy his own Lego NXT Mindstorms kit. In the past week, he has spent hours tweaking ideas he learned in the program as well as the ones included in the instructions that came with the kit. I thought this book would be a natural fit, since it is one of the few that are made more for children than adults.

He was very excited to get it, too, and immediately started constucting the spider bot... and then he realized he didn't have half the needed parts. So he tried to make the frog bot...and again, same thing. He was very frustrated by this point and asked that we return the book.

I told him I would try to find the parts he was missing online, and, thanks to the companion Web site, starting making a list of what he would need... which ended up being over 200 pieces of dozens of different types!

My son would've rated this book a 1, but I'll give it a couple of extra stars for content, the Web site and the fact it is written for children. But after shelling out $250 for the kit and another $20 for the book, be warned: The spending won't stop there. (Not to mention the hours you'll spend tracking everything down.)
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Format: Paperback
Even though this book is geared toward kids, I would not say it is completely "Kid friendly" especially if you just got the Lego NXT. If you want to build the frog, rabbit, or skunk you have to have the education resource kit in addition to the base kit. You will need even more parts to make the SIX other models; Fay Rhodes does tell you were to get the parts and sometimes shows you where you can substitute. In order to make the elephant, skunk, and peacock, you will need to use fishing line for the pulleys. I tried for over 30 minutes to attach the string on the skunk to get it to "spray" and I eventually gave up and tore it apart. The building instructions are not the best, the pins and other parts never fully attach.
It is hard to get the walking animals legs in alignment. I tried for 20 minutes to get the alligator to walk and it just would not work, but maybe that is because I built it wrong.

I admit, the animals are pretty cool. My favorites are the spider and the elephant.

Over all you should only get this book if you have the parts and you have some experience with the NXT.
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