The Strange Case of Origami Yoda (Origami Yoda #1)Featured
Put down whatever you're reading and pick up THE STRANGE CASE OF ORIGAMI YODA, the most delightful middle grade novel I've read in ages.
This case study, written from the perspective of a class of sixth graders, attempts to discover if Origami Yoda is real. The weirdest boy in school, Dwight, carries a small paper puppet and uses it to offer advice which solves the problems of his classmates--predicting a pop quiz, repairing a damaged reputation, and providing a variety of romantic guidance. Somehow the advice is always perfect, despite the fact that Dwight is completely clueless. Could this folded paper have mystical powers?
It doesn't get more charming than this. The kids in the class face realistic issues, ones that I see playing out in my own sixth grade classroom each day, so readers will definitely relate. I felt a particular fondness for Dwight, the oddball who is so socially unaware that he can't help but alienate people. The characters are torn between their gut reactions to his strangeness and feeling guilty about how they treat him. This is so spot on.
There are so many elements of the novel which will appeal to young readers. The pages are made to look crumpled, there are doodles in the margins, and each character has his own font. There are even directions to make an origami yoda. Add those fun touches to a sweet and funny story, and you get an instant favorite. I'll be recommending this to everyone.
Read more of my reviews at www.bookchomper.blogspot.com.
May the Force Be with You
Holy Han Solo, I can’t believe I missed Star Wars Reads Day! In belated honor of the day, I checked out Tom Angleberger’s "The Strange Case of Origami Yoda."
Now I know "Origami Yoda" isn’t quite Star Wars per se, but it serves as the perfect example as to how to use copyrighted (that word sounds wrong) figures for creative uses. As we all know, Yoda is the all knowing little elf-like dude who trains Luke Skywalker in the art of the Force. In Angleberger’s work, an origami puppet version of the mentor teaches sixth grade students in lead character Tommy’s class as to how to navigate the nuances of the world, from relationships to pop quizzes. The twist? The puppet sits on the finger of, and is voiced by, Dwight, the weirdest kid in the class. Are the teachings coming from Dwight, or is Dwight actually the puppet for some cosmic Yoda?
The mystery that ensues pulls all readers into Tommy’s investigative journalist-style research on the issue (Barbara Walters would be proud). Even though the mystery is never quite solved, it’s that whole believing in the unlikely that makes all readers hope that Dwight really does have some psychic link to Yoda sitting in his swamp hole billions of intergalactic miles away.
Angleberger does a great job of giving us the wisdom of Yoda that we’ve come to know and love, but creating a unique twist in his story that no one ever saw coming. When Yoda can mentor Jedis in the art of saving the universe, who knew he’d ever take the time to help out a couple of middle schoolers.