Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, by Tom Angleberger

Tommy is just trying to get through sixth grade. He’s not the most popular guy, but he’s not the biggest weirdo either. That particular title belongs to Dwight. Dwight is always doing odd things that aren’t helping his social status; stuff like “barfing in class because he ate thirteen servings of canned peaches as lunch” (p.4), or answering Tommy’s questions simply with the word “purple” over and over again.

Dwight’s latest thing is wearing a origami Yoda finger puppet and doling out advice. Tommy’s not sure what to make of this. On one hand, it’s the kind of odd Dwight behavior that fits Dwight’s profile, on the other hand, some of the advice that’s been handed out has been good advice. Tommy decides along with his buddies Harvey and Kellen to make a case file documenting origami Yoda’s successes and failures so that Tommy knows whether or not to trust origami Yoda with his own big question!

The “files” are all told by the people who asked Yoda for advice in the first place and each segment ends with Harvey’s two cents (he’s kind of like a control since he doesn’t believe in Yoda’s powers at all), and Tommy’s own opinion. Throughout the case file, readers are treated to a full serving of life in middle school, including embarrassing pant stains, pop quiz ethics, Shakespeare bust mysteries, and the ever nerve inducing school dance (renamed “Fun Night” to take the pressure off).

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda is a laugh-out-loud funny read, and captures that same essence of The Diary Wimpy Kid books without trying to imitate them. Tommy is a quintessential middle school kid, and the push-pull of his relationships with Dwight and Harvey will feel familiar to many readers.
The book has equal girl and boy appeal, as the advice that is asked tends to be universally middle school in scope.

If some of you doubt the possibility of a kid pulling off a month of wearing an origami Yoda puppet, I say you just haven’t spent enough time in a middle school. This is exactly the kind of thing that goes on in the cafeteria and hallways.

Fun, fun, fun!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I completely agree with you! I could so see this happening in my middle school - in the 6th or 7th grade. I've meet kids like Dwight. I loved how it rant true. I shared it with my students and it was checked out by the end of the day!