GIFT RECOMMENDATION: The LEGO Adventure Book, Vol. 1: Cars, Castles, Dinosaurs & More! by Megan H. Rothrock

Throughout the year my publisher, No Starch Press, favors me with review copies of the new and interesting additions to their catalogues. So, between now and whatever-the-last-shipping-day-before-Xmas-is, you can expect a mess of gift suggestions to pop up here.
Incidentally, if you have a book or kit that bears reviewing, feel free to drop me a line; I’m not totally married to only reviewing books by my friends or publisher, those are just the ones that show up on my mailbox.
Kicking off this season of reviews is The LEGO Adventure Book, Vol. 1: Cars, Castles, Dinosaurs & More! by Megan H. Rothrock. This is a really beautiful survey of the modern world of LEGO construction lead by our intrepid guide, minifig Megs. This hardcover (suitable for gift-giving!) is packed with glossy full-color photos, and follows Megs in comic-book style as she tours the works and worlds of a dozen top LEGO designers (both pro and hobbyist). The book includes at least 200(!) designs, with 25 full build instructions for planes, trains, dinosaurs, robots, mechs, medieval accouterments, and more. The designs themselves are brand-free (no Star Wars of Harry Potter), and focus on modularity, adaptability, and reusability. Megs highlights lots little aesthetic flourishes that go a long way (with great observations about medieval brickwork, modern commercial roofs, engines, etc.) and introduces many innovative techniques (including some neat SNOT–that’s “studs-not-on-top”–construction tricks). She’s always sure to flag how a construction can be adapted to new designs.
The book favors some pretty complex builds (the T. Rex has 75 steps!)–which would tend to put it into AFoL (“Adult Fan of LEGO”) territory–but the book design is super accessible to younger builders, making it something of an ideal “idea book” (where it’s fine to aspirational instead of actionable). I gave a copy to my six-year-old and he was *thrilled.* After a few days (during which he read it cover-to-cover each night), I checked in for a review:

Me: “Hey, kid, waddya think of this book?”
6-year-old: “It’s cool.”
Me: “What’s cool about it?”
6yo: “Megs goes everywhere and I find out new things about LEGOs that I like.”

So, there you have it.