Fold or fold not. There is no try. Tom Angleberger’s “The Strange Case of Origami Yoda” is as much about life at a typical middle school as it is about Star Wars and the wonderful art of origami. Dwight, a sixth-grader with the reputation of an oddball, usually is a little too weird for his classmates. But when he makes an origami puppet of Jedi master Yoda that predicts the future and suggests the best way to deal with tricky situations, Dwight’s classmates start lining up with questions about homework, love and everything in-between.
Sixth grader Tommy gathers students’ case files to determine whether origami Yoda actually works before he takes Dwight’s/Yoda’s advice on a crucial matter…involving a certain girl and the middle school dance. Lots of students get voices in this fun story, and there are Star Wars doodles, tips for folding your own Origami Yoda, and other fun bonus material. And the best part? Much like “Star Wars,” the story continues!
Every student introduced in the first book gets their own back story and continues into the next grade level, when Dwight is asked to leave school. What does Dwight’s nemesis, Harvey, have to do with this turn of events, and does it have anything to do with Harvey’s new puppet, Darth Paper? Read “Darth Paper Strikes Back” and “The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee” to find out what happens when Dwight and his origami Yoda puppet are missing at a crucial time for our middle school heroes and heroines.
I love how these books reflect real issues for middle schoolers and for the eudcational system in general. No topic is safe. Don’t believe me? See what an increased emphasis on standardized testing (amusingly referred to in this series as the “FunTime Menace”) does to Angleberger’s characters in the latest books, “The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppet” and the upcoming “Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue!”
I had a blast reading these books. True, I am a huge Star Wars nerd in general, and I’m a big fan of Yoda in particular. But I’m now even more interested in what’s going to happen to these kids–will Harvey ever show a shred of decency? Does Dwight’s Yoda really work? Can the principal really be as bad as the Emperor? All these questions are waiting for you inside the “Origami Yoda” series–as well as drawings, doodles, and directions for you to create your own origami fun. Will you love this series as much as me? That’s hard to answer…”Strong am I with the Force, but not that strong.” I’d love to hear your comments about these books and see your own origami creations. Now excuse me while I try to use all of the library’s paper to create my own origami Millennium Falcon…