Lego Sculptures Become Art with Nathan Sawaya’s THE ART OF THE BRICK at Discovery Times Square

DISCOVERY TIMES SQUARE YELLOW

THE ART OF THE BRICK, an exhibition of works of art made exclusively from Lego bricks, is set to make its debut in New York City at Discovery Times Square (226 West 44th Street) on June 14, with tickets now on sale.

The collection of art constructed using only Lego toy bricks by renowned contemporary artist Nathan Sawaya is coming to New York after enjoying runs to sold-out crowds in Singapore, Taiwan, and Australia.

The Discovery Times Square collection will be the world’s biggest and most elaborate display of Lego art ever. Sawaya will be creating brand new works exclusively for this New York City premiere with more than 100 works of art made out of millions and millions of little Lego bricks.

Guests will have the opportunity to get an up-close and in-person view of the iconic, pop culture fan favorite, Yellow, a life-size sculpture of a man ripping his chest open with thousands of sunshine yellow Lego bricks cascading from the cavity. In addition, visitors will be able to walk under a 20-foot-long T-Rex dinosaur skeleton made out of bricks and come face-to-face with a giant Lego skull.

THE ART OF THE BRICK is the first major museum exhibition to use Lego bricks as the sole art medium. Sawaya transforms them into sculptures, enabling him to elevate what almost every child has played with into the status of contemporary art. THE ART OF THE BRICK at Discovery Times Square runs until January 5, 2014.

Geoffrey’s Jungle App Adds Star Wars Island for May 4

GeoffreyJungleGeoffrey’s Jungle, the interactive free app available for iPad and Android tablets, features Toys “R” Us mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe as he embarks on a safari adventure through different islands full of games and surprises.

Just in time to celebrate May the Fourth, Geoffrey’s Jungle features the all-new Star Wars Island. Kids can now interact and play games featuring their favorite Star Wars heroes and villains, including Yoda and Anakin Skywalker.

The adventure in Geoffrey’s Jungle begins with players customizing their own explorer character for the game, choosing the gender, skin tone and apparel for their explorer, including hat, shirt, pants and shoes. Children can also choose from approximately 20 first and last names for their character, such as Noah Toucana or Sandy Savannah.

Arriving with Geoffrey the Giraffe on their own starship, little adventurers can explore Star Wars Island and play the following games:

  • Whack-a-Sith: Future Jedi can try to “whack” as many Sith as they can with their lightsaber. As Sith pop up, players can use the lightsaber to make them go back down as fast as they can. Featuring Darth Maul, Darth Sidious, and more characters devoted to the dark side;
  • Slide Puzzles: Players can maneuver the pieces of the puzzle to reveal favorite scenes from Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Three fun puzzles to choose from;
  • Coloring Activity: Adventurers can show off their creative sides with this coloring activity, which allows them to color some of their favorite characters and ones that they love to hate, including Yoda, Darth Maul, and Anakin Skywalker.

Star Wars Island also features a selection of the top Star Wars-themed toys available at Toys “R” Us, including the Star Wars Multi-Troop Transport from Hasbro and Lego Star Wars AT-RT Walker. Children can add their favorites to their Toys “R” Us Wish List with the click of a button.

Geoffrey’s Jungle is available for download on the iTunes store and Google Play Store.

Fort Bliss Military Families Receive Thousands of New Toys from Toy Industry Foundation

FortBliss1Nearly 3,000 children living with their families on military base Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas were treated to a special toy giveaway on April 17 hosted by the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) and national partner Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) Military Services.

Families stationed at Fort Bliss, as well as resident members of the Air Force, Marines, National Reserves, and others, enjoyed a “Day of Play” that included bouncy houses and games, music and entertainment, and a pizza party.  Children of all ages received brand new toys, games, and stuffed animals donated by generous toy manufacturers. Gifts distributed at this event were generously donated by Alex, DuneCraft, Ganz, Gibout Toys, Hasbro, Lee Magic Pen, Lego, Look Out World, Mattel, MindWare, RBI Toys, Reeves International, Safari Ltd., and TMI Toy Marketing International.

The event was held as part of the joint TIF /BGCA Play Comforts program – the first-ever national toy distribution initiative to serve every branch of the U.S. military.  Through Play Comforts, toys and games donated by caring toy companies are delivered on an annual basis to families on dozens of U.S. military installations at home and abroad. Now in its fourth year of operation, the program has provided more than $3.5 million in toys for children of military families.


Experience the Lego Travel Adventure of the National Museum of Play

SailorwebFly, drive, or float anywhere your imagination can take you at Lego Travel Adventure at the National Museum of Play at The Strong through Sunday, May 12. The exhibit invites guests to pose for pictures among colorful backdrops, invent extraordinary vehicles at kid-friendly Lego brick stations, and be inspired by eye-popping Lego brick sculptures built by Lego Master Builders.

Among the many hands-on activities:

  • Kids and families can invent their own vehicles at building stations brimming with Lego bricks and Lego Duplo bricks, car bodies, tracks, and other accessories.
  • Preschoolers can race their creations along two downhill tracks with lanes sized especially for Lego Duplo cars.
  • Kids can pretend to fly above the clouds in the cockpit of a giant Travel Adventure Vehicle or hit the road in a child-sized race car made entirely out of Lego Duplo bricks.
  • Families can photograph their vehicles against destination backdrops and email the photos to themselves or to family and friends. Guests can also build their own virtual Lego vehicle on a customized computer program.
  • Museum guests can see models and dioramas built by Lego Master Builders. Display cases capture key moments in travel history—the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk, Henry Ford’s automobile factory and Model T, the first giant steamship, and the first continental railroad.
  • Additional displays feature Lego brick vehicles set against travel destination landmarks including the San Francisco Bay Bridge, Paris Arc de Triomphe, Hawaiian Island, and Cape Canaveral. The Travel Adventure Vehicle (T.A.V.), an imaginary, multi-use vehicle, carries minifigure families on journeys through the clouds, under rivers, and up mountain roads.

COMMENTARY: Construction Toys Capitalize on Upcoming Blockbusters

Lego Metropolis Showdown, based on Man of Steel film

Lego Metropolis Showdown, based on the upcoming Man of Steel film

I’m a huge sucker for blockbuster films. I also love construction toys. So you can image my excitement at the American International Toy Fair last month when I discovered that many of this year’s big films will also make their way to the construction toy aisle.

Construction is one of the healthiest categories in the toy industry right now. According to the NPD Group’s Retail Tracking Service, building sets saw a 23 percent increase in sales from 2011 to 2012. The next closest category of growth (and it’s not even that close) was arts and crafts with 8 percent. A lot of this, of course, had to do with the success of Lego Friends last year. I think it’s safe to say we can expect Lego’s competitors—Mega Brands and Hasbro—to attempt to capitalize on this new boon.

Here are a few of the construction toys I’m excited about that are based on or capitalizing on upcoming films:

G.I. Joe: Retaliation

Kre-O G.I. Joe Ninja Temple Battle Construction Set

Kre-O G.I. Joe Ninja Temple Battle

In theaters tomorrow, G.I. Joe: Retaliation finds the G.I. Joes framed as enemy traitors and fighting for their survival against a shadow U.S. President. Channing Tatum (Duke) and Byung-hun Lee (Storm Shadow) are reprising their roles from the first film, while new cast members such as Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson (Roadblock) and Bruce Willis (Gen. Colton) will add some extra star power. Hasbro’s Kre-O brand last month launched a whole line of G.I. Joe construction sets and micro-figures based on Hasbro’s own G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero property. While not based on the new film, it’s particularly well-timed. The Kre-O G.I. Joe Cobra Armored Assault Construction Set features a buildable tank and a 4×4 vehicle along with three Cobra figures. I’m a big Storm Shadow fan, so I’m also stoked about the Kre-O G.I. Joe Ninja Temple Battle Construction Set.

The Smurfs 2

Smurfette's House

Smurfette’s House

Set for release this summer, The Smurfs 2 will introduce several new characters including some not-so-nice Smurf-like creatures known as the Naughties. The little blue guys find Smurfette has been kidnapped in a plot to turn the evil Naughties into real Smurfs. Christina Ricci lends her voice as Vexy, one of the Naughties. And Katy Perry (yes, that Katy Perry) reprises her role as Smurfette. Mega Brands will release building sets and adorable figures based on the classic The Smurfs property this spring. While not based on the film, these toys seem well-timed. Smurfette’s House is a fully buildable mushroom house playset. The pink and violet two-story mushroom house includes a buildable bed, a makeup table with mirror, and a living room set. I’m stoked on the Racin’ Smurfs set, which includes two buildable racing cars, two Smurfs, obstacles, and a winner’s podium.

The Lone Ranger

Lego Lone Ranger Stagecoach Escape

Lego Lone Ranger Stagecoach Escape

While Lego has some great DC Universe building sets just in time for the upcoming Man of Steel film, I’m more excited about Lego’s The Lone Ranger sets tied to the new Disney film, The Lone Ranger. Johnny Depp will play the Native American warrior Tonto, and Lego nails it with its Tonto micro-figure—it has Johnny Depp smeared all over it. The Lego Lone Ranger Stagecoach Escape features a buildable Western stagecoach with horses and micro-figures (yes, Tonto is included). Word among the Lego folks at Toy Fair was that Disney loved the Lego stagecoach designs so much that they wrote a stagecoach chase into the film just so the item could be part of the line. It’s that awesome.

For more commentary from Loren, check back each Wednesday afternoon. Views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Toy Book as a whole. We hope that you will share your comments and feedback below. Until next time!

Military Families in San Diego Receive Toys and Games from Toy Industry Foundation

Nearly 1,000 children of military personnel stationed in San Diego, Calif., were treated to a toy giveaway on March 2 by the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) and national partner Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) Military Services

Families stationed at Naval Base Coronado were joined by marine families from nearby Camp Pendleton for a fun-filled day of play, crafts, entertainment, and food. The children were gifted with brand new toys and games donated by toy manufacturers from across the nation.

The event was the first of many toy giveaways to be held on military bases this year as part of the joint TIF/BGCA Play Comforts program–the first-ever national toy distribution program to serve every branch of the military. Now in its fourth year of operation, the program has provided more than $3.5 million in toys for children residing on U.S. military bases.

Gifts distributed at this event were donated by Barb-a-Mel Books, Cartamundi, Cloud B, DuneCraft, Elenco, GANZ, Gibout Toys, Hasbro, Kidz Toys, Lee Magic Pen, LEGO, Look Out World, Mattel, MindWare, RBI Toys, Squishable, TMI Toy Marketing International, and Wonder Forge.

LEGO Systems Unveils 250 New Building Sets

LEGO Systems Inc., makers of the world’s leading construction toys, unveiled its largest collection of build-and-play toys ever–250 new products–at the American International Toy Fair. With new products launching throughout the year, children of all ages and interests will find a LEGO building set or theme to spark their building creativity, inspire storytelling and role play, or keep them engaged in imaginative play for hours. New items were on display in Booth 1351 in Hall 3B of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center from February 10 to 13.

Products were added to the LEGO Duplo, Classic LEGO, LEGO Mindstorms, LEGO City, LEGO Friends, and Legends of Chima lines to name a few.

For more information, visit www.lego.com.

Warner Bros. Consumer Products Debuts Worldwide Man of Steel Toy Program

Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) zooms into this year’s American International Toy Fair season with a roster of global licensees ready to support the studio’s portfolio, led by this summer’s tentpole film release Man of Steel, which will be supported by DC Comics master toy licensee Mattel, as well as many other toy partners.  [Read more...]

Lego Travel Adventure Lands at the National Museum of Play in January

Where will you travel? How will you get there? The Lego Travel Adventure exhibit lands at the National Museum of Play at The Strong on January 19. The newest Lego exhibit is filled with colorful backdrops, kid-friendly building activities, and eye-popping Lego brick sculptures built by Lego Master Builders.

In Lego Travel Adventure, museum guests are invited to fly, drive, or float anywhere their imaginations take them by creating extraordinary vehicles out of Lego bricks. Hands-on activities will include: [Read more...]

Warner Bros. Consumer Products Unveils Worldwide Licensing Program for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Calling all fans of Middle-earth—Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) has teamed up with a slate of global licensees to capture the adventure of the blockbuster film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM). [Read more...]