Monday, May 9, 2011

Review - The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication Date: April 1, 2010

Can an origami puppet really tell the future or know if the person you like likes you back? That's exactly what Tommy and the rest of the 6th grade at McQuarrie Middle School are trying to find out. Dwight, the weird guy that every class has, has an Origami Yoda that dispenses advice. But can it really tell the future or know the answers to everyone's questions? Tommy, with the help of his friends Harvey and Kellan, set out to find out.

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda was a fun, quick read that let the reader draw its own conclusions about the title character. Um, yes I'm counting the Origami Yoda as a character, he (it?) did give advice to most of the 6th graders who asked. Plus, look at him all Zen like on the cover. Speaking of the cover check out this blog post about all the changes it went through from the initial concept to the final cover.

So, all of the references to Star Wars were a huge plus for me, I can't even count how many times I've seen episodes 4, 5, and 6, but that's not why I liked this book so much. Mr. Angleberger really gets the awkwardness of being in sixth grade and because of this the characters came across as very real. Even though there were a lot of characters, some only appeared for a chapter, they were all very distinct.

I also really liked the structure of The Strange Case of Origami Yoda. The case files that Tommy puts together as he investigates Origami Yoda and his advice break the information (and story) into manageable pieces. Plus, the comments and doodles from Harvey and Kellan were often funnier than Tommy's insight.

I would recommend The Strange Case of Origami Yoda to fans of funny stories. Even though it's been marketed as a middle grades book, I can see anyone from second graders to adults really enjoying it. The directions at the back of the book for how to make your own Origami Yoda are a nice addition, making it a great choice for book clubs or even a class read aloud since there is an activity built right in. Don't want to follow written instructions? There's a video too!

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