Darth Paper Strikes Back (Origami Yoda #2)

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Darth Paper Strikes Back (Origami Yoda #2)
Publisher
Genre(s)
Age Range
8+
Release Date
August 23, 2011
ISBN
978-1419700279
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The hilarious, clever, and much-anticipated follow-up to the breakout hit, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda!It is a dark time at Ralph McQuarrie Middle School. After suffering several Origami Yoda–related humiliations, Harvey manages to get Dwight suspended from school for being a “troublemaker.” Origami Yoda pleads with Tommy and Kellen to save Dwight by making a new case file—one that will show how Dwight’s presence benefits McQuarrie. With the help of their friends, Tommy and Kellen record cases such as “Origami Yoda and the Pre-eaten Wiener,” “Origami Yoda and the Exploding Pizza Bagels,” and “Origami Yoda and Wonderland: The Musical.” But Harvey and his Darth Paper puppet have a secret plan that could make Dwight’s suspension permanent . . . With his proven knack for humorously exploring the intrigues, fads, and dramas of middle school, Tom Angleberger has crafted a worthy sequel to his breakout bestseller.

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Another Funny and Winning Novel
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0
I was desperate to read DARTH PAPER STRIKES BACK after finishing THE STRANGE CASE OF ORIGAMI YODA, but their was a major waiting list at my school's library. After hearing my complain about it, one of my sixth graders lent me his personal copy. I loved it just as much as the first book.

When Harvey creates his own origami creature named Darth Paper, he uses the powers of the dark side to get Dwight expelled from McQuarrie Middle School. Tommy and his friends create a second case file, this time to prove to the school board that Dwight should not be sent to the Correctional and Remediation Education Facility. Following the same format as the original book, DARTH PAPER explores the shifts in friendships which are very common in middle school. In the first book, Harvey is deeply entrenched as a member of the group, while Dwight is the strange outcast that they use for advice. By the time seventh grade begins, however, everyone is tired of Harvey's attitude and appreciate Dwight for the good person he is. It is when Harvey feels his popularity slipping that he takes drastic action. I witness the chess game that is adolescent friendship every day and author Tom Angleberger nailed it.

In fact, so much of these novels is spot-on that I tried to find out if Angleberger was ever a teacher. Results are inconclusive, but I think he must be a former teacher or married to one. The importance of the Standards of Learning tests is emphasized by everyone, even the seventh graders when they think it will skew in their favor. In an important moment, Tommy is momentarily distracted by a completed Rubik's cube, which is classic middle school attention span. And as much as he is the antagonist, Harvey's sarcastic comments crack me up more than anyone else.

At the heart of the book is a message about appreciating differences and championing the underdog. I love that DARTH PAPER manages to do this without being saccharine or condescending. The third book in the series will be published on May 15th, and I will be at the bookstore that day, eager to see which paper creature will be the next to win my affection.

To read more of my reviews, please visit www.bookchomper.blogspot.com.

Good Points
Hilarious, sweet, and full of good messages
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The New Normal
(Updated: December 04, 2013)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0
I think we can all agree that nothing about Star Wars is normal. We aren’t aided by a group of intergalactic policemen known as Jedi, the closest thing we have to Jabba the Hut is Honey Boo Boo Child’s mom, and Darth Vader’s breathing problems could be easily fixed with an inhaler. But just because the world of Star Wars isn’t normal, doesn’t mean it’s not awesome!

That’s the message that Tom Angleber explores in “Darth Paper Strikes Back,” the second book of his Origami Yoda series. Through the adventures of Tommy, Dwight, Harvey and the gang, Angleberger shows that just because someone or something isn’t normal, it doesn’t mean it, he, or she should be feared or censored. Take Dwight for example. He goes around school giving advice through a paper Yoda puppet, and a lot of people think that’s just whack. One person in particular, the principal at McQuarrie Middle School, thinks Dwight’s abnormalness is a disruption to a properly functioning learning environment.

What “Darth Paper Strikes Back” shows young readers, however, is it’s exactly Dwight’s strange ways that contribute to learning. Dwight on his own is a bit lacking in social grace and doesn’t quite understand how to interact with others in a “normal” way. What makes Dwight a stand up guy is that he works his hardest to find a way that he is comfortable interacting with people, and sure, it’s through an origami space elf, but those interactions result in important lessons for his friends that they eventually rely on. So in the end, who cares if Dwight isn’t all that normal? Not only is he not hurting anyone, he’s enriching the lives of those around him. Maybe abnormal is becoming the new normal.
Good Points
New origami character to support the Force.
Brings up important notions of what is normalcy and when it's okay to just be yourself.
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