Monday, August 15, 2011

Long Live Lego!

This weekend, we loaded up the minivan with our Lego-loving kiddos and headed over to Topeka to see the “Art of the Brick” exhibit currently on display at Washburn’s Mulvane Art Museum.  If you have a chance between now and September 15, go check out this incredible display of New York artist Nathan Sawaya’s work.  He sees the little plastic brick as not just a toy, but as a sculptural medium for creating amazing art that is truly awe-inspiring.  Of course, librarians love him especially because of this.

For a glimpse into the world of Lego culture and the subculture of AFOLs (that’d be Adult Fans of Lego, of course), check out Jonathan Bender’s Lego: A Love Story.  Bender’s work reminds me of books like Word Freak by Stephan Fatsis or Candyfreak by Steve Almond – engaging blends of memoir, micro-history, and pop culture reportage.  Bender takes readers on a tour of conventions, collectors, and the creative spirit and throws in fascinating facts along the way – for example, there are an estimated 62 Lego bricks for every person in the world.  Based on the number of Legos in our household alone, I’d have guessed the number would have been much higher, actually!

For a pictorial history of the little plastic brick, check out The Lego Book and its companion volume Standing Small.  The Lego Book offers a chronology of Lego’s development, a look at sets from the seventies (minifigures had giant heads back then) through today, and factoids and minutiae that will thrill Lego fans and amaze the casual observer.  Standing Small is devoted to the history of the minifigure and is great fun to flip through and see how Lego creators have reduced everyone from Indiana Jones to Severus Snape to tiny plastic forms.   My kid checked these out so much that we ended up buying our own personal copy of each.  We’ve also got our own personal copies of this and this as well.

And, of course, if you have the kiddos with you when you come in to grab any of these items, you can always take them over to one of the most popular spots in the whole building – the Lego table in the Children’s Room.  Actually, my six year old will point out that those are Duplos, not Legos, thank you very much.  Don’t be surprised if you find yourself building right along with the kids – as the art of Nathan Sawaya and the writing of Jonathan Bender reveal – Legos are appealing to kids of all ages.  We have evidence of this from last year, when a certain local personality stopped by the library.  Turns out he’s just a big kid after all – make that a REALLY big kid!

Susan - Marketing Director

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