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"This book is not a book about a toy. It is a book about an idea, a set of values, and a long-term commitment to empowering children to use their creativity and build their imagination."So states Lego Group president Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen in his introduction to this fascinating, visually exciting tribute to Lego bricks and the people who play with them. Lego "maniacs" are no mere invention of Lego Group's industrious marketing machine. Enthusiastic fans of the ingeniously designed, colorful plastic building blocks do indeed exist, and in vast numbers--as of 1996, an estimated 300 million children and adults had played with Lego bricks since the first one rolled off the presses in 1949. (How many yellow knob-headed Lego people populate the earth today? A cool 2.3 billion.)
The visual wizards at Dorling Kindersley have labored together with the staff at Lego to assemble a hefty, photo-rich book essential to the library of any maniac (or maniac emeritus). The Ultimate Lego Book recounts the company's early history as a one-man operation back in the 1930s and subsequent creation of its first plastic "automatic binding brick," to the contemporary construction of myriad Legoland theme parks.
Trivia buffs will appreciate the playful but detailed graphic time line (first Lego window, 1957; first wheel, 1962; first dolphin, 1995). Everyone will love the pages of imagination-stretching constructions, from the small but clever (an unmistakable Elvis, complete with pompadour) to the overwhelmingly detailed (a meticulous model of Grand Central Station) to the downright strange (a life-size space helmet with visor and gas mask). The Lego universe includes a Mona Lisa replica, a 10,500-piece pelican, and even a yellow submarine. Enjoy! (Ages 6 to 106) --Paul Hughes
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