Monday, February 18, 2013
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda
I told you that Origami Yoda was going to win my Valentine's Day reading vote. Actually, I didn't read it on Valentine's. I was otherwise engaged. But miracle of miracles, my public library actually had it, so this was my Friday night. Honestly, I am very glad that I didn't read this book on my Kindle because it is full of drawings and illustrations that would have been lost on my 2nd generation machine. I might have to update my technology, especially since my dog knocked my Kindle off the side table and ever since there have been three black dots along the side. It's not a big deal, but it makes everything look like it's been written on three hole punched paper.
Tommy has put together a case file on Origami Yoda, a little paper puppet that sits atop the finger of Dwight, a strange and unusual guy, and dispenses wise advice to everyone in his class. Just like Yoda in the Star Wars movies, the answers are not straight forward, but they do make sense. While one student is off learning the twist with her grandmother, another is being told to soak his pants, and poor Dwight provokes the school bully, but in the end, it all comes together, and Tommy gets the answer he seeks regarding a girl. Each chapter is told by a different student that asked Origami Yoda for advice, so the plot moves along quickly and the reader never has a chance to get bored. Since some of the chapters are written by girls, it also is a book that has wide appeal. Most of the book is boy funny, but there is some insight into the female brain as well.
I loved this little book. I think that this is a great series for Diary of a Wimpy Kid readers. It's funny, quick, has great illustrations and it has more heart than Wimpy Kid. Plus it captures 6th grade so perfectly, with the boy/girl division starting to weaken and fear of the older kids being a major concern. There are two more in this series so far, with an art book coming out next month, so I really hope that Tom Angleberger can keep going with these characters. Angleberger has a couple of other books as well that were already on my to-read list, so I am pretty excited to see how those turn out too.
While I was reading this, my husband wondered aloud how the author got permission to use Star Wars characters so freely. Honestly, I don't see that as a problem. All of the boys in the book talk about Star Wars like they are the single greatest piece of cinematic adventure ever created (and quite a few real people would agree, I'm sure), so I believe that this book could bring even more fans to the movies, which is a win-win for everyone.
I highly recommend The Strange Case of Origami Yoda to middle grade readers. It is full of humor and fun, but sneaks that message in perfectly so you barely notice it, but it's there and it will have an effect.