Thursday, 13 May 2010

Review: The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger


Publisher: Abrams
Format: Hardcover
Released: May 2010
Grade rating: C+/B-


Amazon summary:

In this funny, uncannily wise portrait of the dynamics of a sixth-grade class and of the greatness that sometimes comes in unlikely packages, 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 Tommy wonders how Yoda can be so smart when Dwight himself is so clueless. With contributions from his puzzled classmates, he assembles the case file that forms this novel.

Review:

I don't usually mention book covers in my reviews, but in this instance I have to. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda has one of my favourite covers of any book I own, and every time I look at it, I laugh. I'd have read it just for that reason, which I know is pretty bad because it in no way reflects the content. Still, it never fails to make me smile, and I really want to try and make my own Yoda! Orgiami isn't my area of expertise, but I'll give it a go.

The book itself is what you'd expect: fun and fast, with a few life lessons that middle grade readers will no doubt find helpful. Dwight and his Yoda finger puppet offer advice to a lot of people, often with hilarious consequences, including a legitimate reason to learn how to dance the Twist. It's random and entertaining, and by writing it as part of Tommy's casefile, Angleberger opened the floor to multiple narratives, doodles and hand-written notes.

Regular readers of my blog will know that I love novels that incorporate illustrations and diagrams into the text, as it adds a bit of variety and individualism to the story. I wanted to love Origami Yoda's text as much as I love the cover, but it felt a little flat to me. The characters never grabbed me, though I have been left with a soft spot for origami Yoda. He's so cute and wise, and made of paper. Star Wars fans will love the idea of him, I'm sure!

I think The Strange Case of Origami Yoda will be a hit with middle grade readers, as well as those looking for a quick, light read filled with Star Wars references and a very memorable character made from origami. Now, back to my paper folding instructions...

12 comments:

Sasha said...

This looks really fun-the cover is very cute! Nice reiew :)

Luisa at Chicklish said...

This looks so cute! Great to hear all about it.

Rhiana said...

It is an amazing cover! I don't think it's one for me though.

Time4u Book Review said...

Love origami yoda, very fuuny.

Kate Evangelista said...

I still can't get over how cute the cover of this book is. :-)

asamum said...

Would you recommend it for a shy 9 year old

prophecygirl said...

Emma - yes, I'm sure it would be fine. It's a fun book :)

So Many Books, So Little Time said...

I wouldn't get the Star Wars references, but I still think I'd love this. And that cover really is genius!

Karen said...

This was featured in a library magazine and I'm looking forward to giving it a go when the copies come in. Is Yoda easy to make ? The summer reading challenge is 'Space' so this could be a useful activity for children...

Becky said...

Oh, I still can't decide if I should buy this for hubby. I don't know if he has the right sense of humour. I will have to think about it a bit more. They had copies in Foyles and one of the other UK peeps said you'd reviewed it. I don't know how I missed your post on this. I guess it was a very busy week last week. Thanks for sharing Jenny.

Anonymous said...

i would like to know how you built the one on the cover of your book so if you can make a video or post some instructions on this site thanks alot,
carson

Anonymous said...

i love the book :)