Title: The Strange Case of Origami Yoda
Author: Tom Angleberger
ISBN: 9780710984257
Pages: 141 pages
Publisher/Date: Amulet Books, an imprint of Abrams, c2010.

The big question: Is Origami Yoda real?
Well, of course he’s real. I mean, he’s a real finger puppet made out of a real piece of paper.
But I mean: Is he REAL? Does he really know things? Can he see the future? Does he use the Force?
Or is he just a hoax that fooled a whole bunch of us at McQuarrie Middle School?
It’s REALLY important for me to figure out if he’s real. Because I’ve got to decide whether to take his advice or not, and if I make the wrong choice, I’m doomed! (1-2)

Sixth grader Tommy doesn’t know what to think. Dwight, the biggest-oddball in the school, has made an origami finger puppet that looks like Yoda. If that isn’t bad enough, he’s going around using a really bad fake Yoda voice to offer advice and suggestions to his classmates. While most kids are weirded out at first, Yoda’s eerily accurate predictions led some to believe that there might be something more to Yoda. Tommy has a question of his own to ask Yoda, but he doesn’t want to make a fool of himself.

My coworker was raving about this book, and how she absolutely loved it. Several other chimed in that they really liked it as well, so I was expecting a great book. And while yes, it’s an enjoyable book, I think the hype affected my opinion. Probably the big appeal is the question of whether or not Yoda (and by extension Dwight) is real. We all had those weird kids like Dwight in school who made origami Yodas or wore the same shirt for days. But could someone really choose to be that weird? Or is it like Tommy says at one point, that it’s hard to believe someone so smart would act that way on purpose without an ulterior goal in mind.

The book is told from multiple view points as Tommy solicits contributions from classmates who interacted with Yoda. These viewpoints were extremely short, and really didn’t provide a whole lot of insight into the various students. Which I guess was okay, since the focus was on Yoda, but I would have liked to have seen more. I can understand the appeal and fascination with this book, given the wide appeal of anything connected with Star Wars, so it will find a home with the hordes of fans. The instructions on how to make an origami Yoda will delight readers who want to make their own origami character. Other options are available through various websites and Internet searches, but I fell in love with Chris Alexander’s projects (even if the few instructions he provides are too complicated for me to do on my own).

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