The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
Amulet Books, 2010
4 out of 5
In this funny, uncannily wise portrait of the dynamics of a sixth-grade class and of the greatness that sometimes comes in unlikely packages, Dwight, a loser, talks to his classmates via an origami finger puppet of Yoda. If that weren't strange enough, the puppet is uncannily wise and prescient. Origami Yoda predicts the date of a pop quiz, guesses who stole the classroom Shakespeare bust, and saves a classmate from popularity-crushing embarrassment with some well-timed advice. Dwight's classmate Tommy wonders how Yoda can be so smart when Dwight himself is so clueless. With contributions from his puzzled classmates, he assembles the case file that forms this novel. (Description from Amazon).
What a fantastic read! This is a funny, insightful tale of middle school awkwardness at its best. And it has Yoda.
The voices of the kids are genuine from Tommy who just wants to figure it all out to his friend who speaks into a recorder so "it doesn't feel like homework." I wouldn't say there is depth to the characters, but when discussing the politics of middle school, that's to be expected. There's a hint of romance, but not sappy, convoluted grown up love. Instead you get shy, middle school "Does she like me?" and "Do you think he likes me back?" love. It sure takes me back to when holding hands was the best thing ever.
The little details in the publishing make for a casual feel and add to the fun. The seemingly crumpled pages that make up the book, the doodles by the friend, and the use of varying fonts for different contributors and comments. This makes for a dynamic text that will not prove boring for readers. There are even instructions to make your own Origami Yoda.
This is a great little that had me giggling and, like Yoda, left me thinking, "The end this is?"