Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Lego My Book Fair

Dear Scholastic and Lego Corporations,

I think I speak for all of us when I ask, can you both please just stick to your own product lines and stop trying to team up?

Lego, I’ve got some heartburn with you folks on a number of fronts, but let me focus on Scholastic first. Books. That’s what a publisher makes. I think you guys have forgotten that, so I just wanted to remind you.

Don’t get me wrong, I want to thank you for continuing your long tradition of school book fairs. You guys help raise a lot of money for our school each year, and we’re very appreciative. What we’re not super excited about, however, is all the extra crap you send along for the “book” fair. If I didn’t know any better, I would think it was a poster and toy fair that happened to have a few books.

My son doesn’t need an eraser that looks like a calculator. I was told at the beginning of the school year that kids don’t need to spell words on paper anymore, or figure out the actual answer to math problems anymore, so he really doesn’t need an eraser or a calculator, let alone a strange hybrid sold to him by a book manufacturer.

He also doesn’t need a poster of all the NFL helmets. He might want one, and I might consider buying him one, but I don’t want to do it at a BOOK fair. Same goes for plastic sharks on a stick, bouncy balls, and pictures of pop stars. I mean, Justin Bieber, Scholastic? Seriously? That kid wouldn’t know what a book was if I hit him in the face with it, which I would definitely do if given the chance.

Again, I think I speak for all of us elementary school parents when I say, the only non-book item we really need to see at a book fair is a bookmark. And we think those should be free, as God intended.

Now let’s talk about your new hybrid books, which is where Lego comes in. Son Number Three wouldn’t get off my leg at this year’s book fair about the Lego book he wanted me to buy him. Lo and behold, this “book” had a big clear plastic bubble built into the cover containing an actual Lego guy.

OK, so now I know why he wants it... Let’s see what the inside of the book has to offer... Oh, I see. For ten bucks I get this little Lego guy, plus a forty-page book apparently written by the Lego CIA, giving me the dossier on twenty different Lego guys, all of whom happen to be on Lego TV shows that Lego no doubt wants my son to watch.

The red ninja guy wears red all the time. He is on a TV show. His swords are sharp, and his head is yellow, even though you can’t see it under his red ninja guy ninja head wrap thing. He is awesome on the TV show. He likes sushi and running on the beach. You should stop reading this “book” and watch his TV show.

Hmm... Phenomenal content, Scholastic and Lego, but I think I’ll pass.

And, before you jump down my throat, Scholastic, I know Lego isn’t the only one responsible for hybrid books. We also saw books that contained shark teeth, and books that had plastic military dog tags. Son Number Three wanted all those books, too. That doesn’t make it better.

But, Lego, you guys have been on my list for a while, so I’m using this latest Scholastic book fair as a jumping-off point.

Here’s my main problem with you. You guys really gave my generation a raw deal. I have enough problems with fending off an entitlement mentality in my kids without you guys piling on. Back when phones were attached to the wall and Pluto was still a planet, all our Legos were square. Nowadays, my kids get all huffy if they can’t find the right color rear stabilizer fin for their rebel alliance snowspeeder with the smooth sweeping curved edges and the pivoting nose bar attachment. You know what that thing looked like in my day, kid? A bumpy green rectangle with razor-sharp edges, that’s what. We had to have an imagination.

You have replaced imagination with the Lego Club Magazine – an insidious publication that comes to my house each month and turns my kids into whiny, slobbering beggars.

You know what I could build with your amazing Legos when I was a kid? I could build a cabin. They were basically plastic interlocking Lincoln Logs. My kids can build a flying dragon that actually shoots round plastic fireballs out of its mouth. How is that fair to me at all?

And don’t even get me started on Star Wars. Those movies came out when I was still a kid, but MY kids are the ones that get all the cool Star Wars Legos? Where were you guys on that one? My generation would have loved Star Wars Legos. Our kids don’t appreciate them enough, because you offer them a hundred other TV/movie/Lego combinations. We only had Star Wars and E.T., man. That's all we had. And we had to wear corduroy pants and thick polyester shirts the whole time we were playing with our square, sharp, non-Star Wars Legos. My kids’ clothes are so damned comfortable compared to ours back then, it’s not even funny.

Sorry... I got a little sidetracked there. Where was I?

Oh, yeah. Can you both please just stick to what you do best? One of you just make books and the other one just make toys? I’ll leave it up to you to figure out who’s going to handle what. Thanks!

See you soon,


Copyright © 2015 Marc Schmatjen

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