Sunday, January 30, 2022

REVIEW: The Strange Case of Origami Yoda (book) by Tom Angleberger

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda is Middle Grade humorous realistic fiction. I checked it out from the library.


Dwight is generally agreed to be the biggest weirdo in his school's sixth grade. He says and does random weird stuff and is generally embarrassing for folks like Tommy, who sits with him at lunch, to be around. However, he recently made his own Origami Yoda (based on a design he invented himself), and although it's weird that he keeps telling people to ask Origami Yoda for advice, the advice is often surprisingly helpful.

Tommy has assembled these case files in an effort to figure out the answer to the question: Is Origami Yoda real, or isn't he? Each entry is an example of a time Origami Yoda gave someone advice and how it turned out, with commentary from Harvey (who doesn't believe Origami Yoda is real) and Tommy, along with doodles created by Tommy's friend Kellen.

Although this was technically a quick read, it was also an oddly excruciating one. I felt all 141 pages and was glad when it was finally over. The fact that I read the whole thing over the course of a couple days is the only reason I'm even still considering reading the second book. Even if it doesn't work any better for me than this one did, at least it'd be over quickly.

What was so painful about it? I'm not really sure. There was nothing I could clearly identify as being bad. The format (entries written or dictated by kids Origami Yoda helped) was somewhat annoying, and Sara told Tommy (and therefore also Kellen and Harvey) a lot more in her sections than I felt was believable. Still, it wasn't terrible, and the conversational style definitely made for quick and easy reading.

The story was pretty thin, however, and the characters weren't generally interesting enough to make up for it. Dwight was the most complex of the bunch, but since we only ever got an outsider view of him, it was tough to say how much of what he was doing was purposeful and how much was just chaos that happened to work out for the better. I did like the gradual shift in the way Tommy viewed and spoke about Dwight, though.


Black-and-white drawings in the margins and other white space (the only ones I actually kind of liked were the little doodles of Origami Yoda), as well as instructions for folding your own Origami Yoda. I'm going to guess that the instructions were meant to be done with a sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper, but it didn't specify. It'd probably also be best if kids have some familiarity with origami (beyond folding paper airplanes) prior to attempting it - the instructions, like the other drawings in the book, are meant to look as though a sixth grader created them and therefore aren't the clearest I've ever seen. That said, I'm pretty particular about how I like origami instructions to be formatted.

1 comment:

  1. Another book that was on the Texas Bluebonnet Award reading list - but this one won. I have to think it was mostly because of the title.