Amulet Books, 2010. 978-0810984257
Synopsis: Tommy and Dwight aren’t exactly friends and Dwight isn’t exactly cool, but he knows how to fold origami. One day, Dwight folds an Origami Yoda and convinces Tommy and his friends to ask it questions – and the advice turns out to be good. Really good. Almost too good. Soon the whole school is coming to get advice from Dwight’s Origami Yoda. But when Tommy asks Origami Yoda about a girl, will he take Yoda’s advice or listen to his friend Harvey who tells him it’s only a piece of folded paper?
Why I picked it up: Yet another recommendation from a library school classmate. Also, I love Star Wars and origami.
Why I finished it: It’s hard to say what I love more about this book: Angleberger’s ability to connect with the middle school audience or the dichotomy between dweeby Dwight and the brilliance of his Origami Yoda. Every middle schooler wants answers about how to deal with their teachers, their friends, other students, and whether or not they should ask that certain someone to the school dance. While Tommy isn’t spending a lot of time trying to fit in, he gradually begins to see that Dwight is trying to fit in with his peers, even if it seems to be by rather supra natural means. I have to admit that I alternated between thinking ‘this is cool!’ and ‘how is this possible?’ like Tommy, but in the end, I think as unbelievable as things are, I’m willing to suspend disbelief. Angleberger’s story shows that as awkward as middle school is, there is a way to get through it, and finding those people that will believe you and support you no matter how weird you are can definitely make the difference. It proves that even those people you didn’t think were worth knowing or noticing have something to offer.
Other related materials: Darth Paper Strikes Back: An Origami Yoda Book by Tom Angleberger; The Secret of the Fortune Wookie: An Origami Yoda Book by Tome Angleberger; Star Wars Origami: 36 Amazing Paper-folding Projects from a Galaxy Far, Far Away…. by Chris Alexander; Star Wars Folded Flyers: Make 30 Paper Starfighters by Ben Harper; Rowan of Rin series by Emily Rodda; Horton Halfpott: Or, The Fiendish Mystery of Smugwick Manor; or, The Loosening of M’Lady Luggertuck’s Corset by Tom Angleberger; Fake Mustache: Or, How Jodie O’Rodeo and Her Wonder Horse (and Some Nerdy Kid) Saved the U.S. Presidential Election from a Mad Genius Criminal Mastermind by Tom Angleberger; The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place books by Maryrose Wood; The Castle Corona by Sharon Creech; Diary of a Wimpy Kid books by Jeff Kinney; Alvin Ho books by Lenore Look