Book of the Week - The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

Origami Yoda is yet another book trying to fill the graphic novel/literature genre that Diary of a Wimpy Kid made oh so popular. This story is not so heavily graphics driven as Wimpy Kid, but the obvious attempt is still good, and its not a bad attempt.

Tommy only wants to know one thing. Is Origami Yoda real? Sure, it's a real puppet on Dwight's finger, but is Dwight/Yoda really tuned into the force or is it just some stupid Dwight trick? Tommy sets about chronicling the advice and after affects all in an effort to see if he should be taking Orgami Yoda's advice. And that advice is should he ask Sarah to dance at the next school dance?

It's a classic story. Should the boy ask the girl out? But the fun twist with Origami Yoda makes it a little more interesting. Middle grade readers, especially the misfits (weren't we all), will find themselves in the various characters. However, the story fell a little flat. After a few chapters, the reader may find themselves tempted to skip, as there is only one plot and only one aim of the story. No depth, no sub-plot, and certainly not much substance. Despite my love for all things Star Wars, I'm afraid the cute little finger puppet was the only character I found interesting.

On a structure level, each chapter is told by a different kid, their side of the story followed by Tommy's thoughts and then Henry's (another character who thinks Origami Yoda is a fraud). Each chapter is done in different "handwriting" adding to the personal diary-like feeling of the book. This allows Angelberger to play with something that is rare in middle grade fiction, multiple narratives, which only added to the authenticity of the book. The illustrations were fun, and added some flair, but they often felt needless. Pictures just to have pictures.

For those looking for a light quick read, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda will fill that notch, but if you are looking for something of substance with pictures I suggest The Graveyard Book.

One nifty thing. the back of the book does have instructions on how to make your very own Origami Yoda. Now that's cool!