Tuesday, February 15, 2011

James May's Lego House

James May's Lego House
By James May
Conway, 2010. 93 pages. Non-fiction.

James May, host of BBC's "Top Gear," decided to build a house entirely out of Lego. He wanted to do it for fun, to film for his new show "Toy Stories," and to eventually give to Legoland in England. He writes, "What I'm actually doing here is answering a question I asked myself as a 6 year old boy. If you had enough Lego bricks, could you build yourself a Lego house? Yes you could. Here it is." It took over 3 million Lego bricks and 1100 volunteers to complete the project. Although the house is built around a wooden frame for insurance purposes, every single inch of the home is made of the colorful, plastic bricks. The details are astounding. In the kitchen, you will find a Lego toaster, salt and pepper shakers, even little Campbell's soup cans. There is even functioning plumbing in the sinks and toilet! The workers fashioned a Lego ballcock for the toilet, made waterproof with thick layers of Vaseline.

This book is small but packs a punch! It's informative and full of blueprints, photographs, and back story. My only complaint is that there is no real conclusion. May ends the book by spending his first night in the house, and we are left to wonder what happens next. May is a cuckoo, but even a cuckoo can't live in a plastic-brick bed...can he? I followed up on the story online. In 2009, Legoland in England sadly decided that the project had become too big, and would be too expensive to transport to their park. The home failed to sell at about $5 million (US) and was demolished with chainsaws. Some of the decorative pieces were sold for charity. There is a happy ending, as James May did earn a Guinness World Record for Largest Lego Building.

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