I usually don’t swipe images directly from manufacturer’s catalogs, but in this case could not find a more descriptive photo to convey why I so love a product. To be sure, Automoblox have won praise from numerous sources since their introduction almost 3 years ago, but having recently enjoyed them (by myself and with my son) felt they more than deserve a fresh plug here. Beautifully designed vehicular toys are hard enough to come by these days, but Automoblox’s emotive forms manage to capture the essence of car styling – from sports cars to minivans to SUVs – in the purest forms, lovingly sculpted from silky wood and richly molded plastic. Better yet, their ingenious design lets kids mix components from various sets to create an endless range of imaginative combinations, so durably constructed that they can be played with and enjoyed long beyond the construction phase (ever see the pained look on a child’s face as they try to roll a Lego car around while its parts disintegrate into bricks?). Automoblox transcend traditional play categories like “building toy” or “vehicle”, a rare product that’s managed to create a niche all its own. Prices are commensurate with the quality, $12-$45 depending on size.