THE STRANGE CASE OF ORIGAMI YODA by Tom Angleberger (Amulet, 2010)
HONORS: Cybils Award for Middle Grade Fiction (2010); E.B. White Read-Aloud Award (2011)
REVIEW: Dwight is a very strange — and very clueless — sixth-grader who walks around with an origami finger puppet on his hand that looks just like Yoda. But while Dwight himself is not the brightest crayon in the box, Origami Yoda seems to know a lot. Soon dozens of Dwight’s classmates are lining up to ask Origami Yoda for advice. Sometimes his advice seems a little ridiculous, but other times it is purely genius, and Dwight’s classmate Tommy wants to find out whether or not he can really trust Origami Yoda. The novel is presented as Tommy’s case file containing personal accounts of his classmates’ experiences with Origami Yoda as he works to uncover the truth about this paper creature and decide whether or not to ask him for advice about something very important.
OPINION: I absolutely loved this book. I’m a huge fan of novels written in different formats, such as letters or diary entries, and this novel is certainly presented in a very interesting fashion. In addition to the personal accounts of his classmates, Tommy’s friend Harvey, who is adamant that Origami Yoda is a total hoax, adds his comments at the end of each account, followed by Tommy’s own comments. Plus, his friend Kellen doodled all over each entry, adding another level of character to the novel, and Tommy taped various pieces of “evidence” into the case file. All in all, a very humorous and entertaining read.
IDEAS: “Me thinks Origami creatures you should make.” Have an origami-making program, hosted by Origami Yoda himself (this would involve making an Origami Yoda beforehand — click here for instructions). Print off how-tos for dozens of origami creatures for kids to work on. A great site with hundreds of origami patterns AND animated videos showing the step-by-step instructions is at the Origami Club website.