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Book Review: The “Origami Yoda” Series

A long time ago in a middle school far, far away…

It is a period of great confusion at McQuarrie Middle School!  Dwight Tharp, ostracized by his classmates for being “weird,” presents an ORIGAMI FINGER-PUPPET OF YODA and suggests that his sixth-grade classmates ask it for advice.  When it starts giving them ingenious answers that they never could have figured out themselves, they begin to wonder: is the REAL Yoda helping them, or is Dwight merely pretending to be Yoda?

To solve the mystery, these young Star Wars fans assemble a case file in which they retell stories of how Origami Yoda “helped” them…

Happy Star Wars Day!  If you’re searching for something quick and funny to read or you need a good book that will interest your young Padawans, I’d like to recommend my favorite kids’ series outside of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson: The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, by Tom Angleberger!

The Origami Yoda series feels like what you would get if you took the popular Big Nate comics or one of Andrew Clement’s books and mixed it with the power of the Force.  There are a lot of fun references to the Star Wars franchise.  Each of the puppets has cute twists to the characters’ names: Darth Paper, Foldy-Wan Kenobi, Chewbacca the Fortune Wookie, etc.  While the plot and characters hold up on their own, you really have to be a Star Wars fan to best appreciate these books.

But Origami Yoda doesn’t just put clever twists on Star Wars.  It presents positive messages for kids in ways that pleasantly surprised me.  Yoda and his fellow origami puppets always give the kids the right answers to their problems, but the kids don’t always get the answers they want.  While their problems often involve a conflict with their principal or other teachers, the adults aren’t flat, boring villains- they have their own favorite Star Wars characters and get presented sympathetically.

Angleberger also uses the story to talk about kids who have trouble fitting in with their classmates and how they should be treated.  Dwight gets bullied by his classmates, who eventually realize that it’s wrong to hang out with him just so they can use him to get advice from Origami Yoda.  But he also experiences problems at a different school when kids go out of their way to assure him that they “understand” his “differences” without making the effort to get to know him.  They only act friendly to make themselves feel good, and Angleberger makes it clear that this is not true “acceptance.”

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda is a very funny series about Star Wars and the group of kids that love everything about it.  I give it ten out of ten lightsabers!

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