The Strange Case of the Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger (ages 8 -12) is a funny, uncannily wise portrait of the dynamics of a sixth-grade class, as well as a look at greatness that sometimes comes in unlikely packages.
It seems 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 and reluctant friend Tommy wonders how Yoda can be so smart when Dwight himself is so totally clueless. With contributions from his puzzled classmates, Tommy assembles the “case file” that forms this novel.
There’s something undeniably intriguing about the metaphysical dilemma the premise of this book raises. If Origami Yoda gives good advice does it matter if that advice is coming from Dwight the loser or from the manifestation of Lord Yoda himself?
It’s a question that kids understand. Is Christmas morning any less special if Santa isn’t real? Why do we avoid the crack if we know we won’t actually break our mother’s back?
I found this quirky little book to be a complete joy and read it in two quick sittings, yet I wouldn’t quite go so far as to recommend it to grown ups. However, every kid I know that has read it (okay that’s only 3) has found it nearly impossible to put down once they began reading. Origami Yoda pulls a sort of Jedi-mind-trick on its readers sucking them in and making them want to devour the story.
Hey c’mon, isn’t that exactly what we parents want from a kids book!