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Book Review: The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, by Tom Angleberger (Amulet, 2010)

Recommended for ages 9-12

What would you do if the school oddball showed up with an Origami Yoda on his finger and started dispensing advice one day? What would you do if his advice actually made sense and worked? That’s the dilemma facing McQuarrie Middle School sixth grader Tommy Lomax as he creates the case file known as The Strange Case of Origami Yoda.

At first, Tommy and his friends think Origami Yoda is just another one of Dwight’s odd quirks, but as Origami Yoda’s advice continues to produce positive results and even borders on predicting the future, Tommy and his friends end up seeking Dwight and Origami Yoda out. Tommy has a particular reason for wanting advice and struggles between believing in Origami Yoda’s connection to The Force and the fear of falling victim to a hoax. He compiles a series of case studies from classmates’ experiences with Yoda to review and make a decision; his friend Kellen adds illustratrations and his frenemy Harvey adds his own commentary. Harvey does not believe in Yoda and thinks everyone’s crazy for buying into the whole scheme.

The book is hilarious. It’s a fun read, written from the point of view of Tommy and his friends, with different handwriting and computer fonts and line drawings to give the reader a feeling of reading a middle schooler’s notebook. The banter between characters, carried out on paper, is fun and realistic – there’s sarcasm and anxiety aplenty to go with the light humorous pace. The book is a great, quick read for boys and girls alike looking for a funny book.

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda is the first in a planned trilogy of books by Tom Angleberger. Its sequel, Darth Paper Strikes Back, was released this past summer. The book has won several awards including the Cybil Award for best middle-grade fiction, The Dorothy Canfield-Fisher Award for 2011/2012, and the E.B. White Read-Aloud Award for Middle Grade Fiction.

The author maintains an Origami Yoda/Darth Paper blog that offers tips on folding one’s own Yoda or Darth Paper, along with a “Super Folders Forum” for users to communicate. He also shares a blog with fellow author Sam T. Riddleburger, Berger & Burger.

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Author:

I'm a mom, a children's librarian, bibliophile, and obsessive knitter. I'm a pop culture junkie and a proud nerd, and favorite reads usually fall into Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I review comics and graphic novels at WhatchaReading (http://whatchareading.com). I'm also the co-founder of On Wednesdays We Wear Capes (http://www.onwednesdays.net/), where I discuss pop culture and geek fandom from a female point of view.

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