The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, Tom Angleberger

Synopsis: Dwight is a weird, weird kid. He’s the type that you know is an inner genius but acts like an idiot. The best piece of evidence that shows he’s smart is that he created his own Origami Yoda (without instructions, which comes up in the debate quite a bit).  Dwight has him in his pocket at all times, ready to put on his finger for advice. Tommy, one of Dwight’s friends, is making a case file on Origami Yoda so that he can know whether or not to follow Yoda’s advice: ask Sara out.

The case file is filled with stories of Origami Yoda and his advice, with skeptical commentary from Harvey and drawings by Kellen (two of Tommy’s other friends).

Not to spoil the book, but here’s some of Yoda’s advice:

  • “Rush in fools do.”  Yoda convinced Tommy not to ask Hannah to dance. He found out as he waited that she had a particularly large boyfriend.
  • Kids study really quick after they hear Yoda proclaim there will be a pop quiz, except for Dwight, who often doesn’t take Yoda’s advice. Sara admits to the teacher that they knew ahead of time, and the teacher says they couldn’t since HE didn’t know about a pop quiz ahead of time.
  • A kid frustrated in gym class because he can’t get a home run is told, “Let go of your feelings, Mike. Hate and revenge to the dark side only lead.” And the kid takes a chill pill and doesn’t cry when he strikes out. He feels better because he let his anger go, even though there will probably never be a home run.
  • Marcie, an eighth grader, doesn’t believe in Origami Yoda because she asked him how she’d win the spelling bee. When Yoda says he has to rest and ask tomorrow, she calls Dwight a fartface. The next day, Yoda says “Mulked (mulct) you must learn how to spell. Forget not the t.”  Mulct never comes up in the Bee, but as Tommy points out, mulct is when you  trick or punish somebody. Would Yoda really want to help someone who called him a “fartface?”
  • And many more!

Harvey googles how to make an  origami Yoda and creates a dueling Yoda, who is TOTALLY on the Dark Side! Dwight and Harvey have Tommy really confused about what his next move should be.  (I can only hope that the force will be strong with that one.)

Bookworm’s Commentary

  • I don’t have a lot of readers in my class, which saddens me. I have one student Amber trying to read Gone with the Wind (sidenote:  I’m super stoked to have an Amber I LIKE in my class. See previous discussion on “other Ambers” here.)  Other than that little gem (pun intended), most of my kids still want books with pictures.  This book has pictures, but is written in a really engaging way. The illustrations are cute but are not overwhelming if you want to just read.
  • It’s really funny. I’m not a Star Wars nerd, but I enjoy the original movies. (I refuse on principle to see the prequels.) I can’t quote the movies or anything in length, but I love Yoda.  He’s a wise little Jedi, and the Origami Yoda channels that wisdom pretty well. The fact that a bunch of sixth graders take a finger puppet seriously is also pretty darn awesome.
  • Origami Yoda is also not above “Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer.”  Sample conversation:
    Q:”Yoda, how do you find the grenade launcher on the Arctic Level of Operation Death Rain?”
    A:”Read a book should you.”
    Q:”Like a hint book?”
    A:”No, a book like The Hobbit.”
  • Part of the book’s charm is that Dwight is such a weirdo, but Yoda is (mostly) universally respected. And let’s be honest: isn’t that the way it works? Yoda is awesome. Some of the people who adore him may be weird, but overall, he’s a popular fella. He knows how to use the force in his favor… even if Dwight doesn’t. But at the same time, Yoda brings up Dwight’s cool quotient– maybe not a lot, but enough.

Class Stuff:
I got this at the school book fair. It’s about a sixth grade class. Middle grades would probably cover age range. Unless they REALLY like Yoda…. 🙂
Grade: I was going to say something “funny to me”, like “OY for Oh yeah for Origami Yoda,” until I realized I’m an idiot actually saying “OY!” But I’d totally listen to Yoda. (Origami or puppet form), so this book gets an  A. Cute book,  great for our budding geeks out there, and I loved the concept. Good times had by all.


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Filed under Middle school (6-8), Realistic, Uncategorized

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