The Strange Case of Origami Yoda: Origami Yoda, Book 1

Book review by
Barbara Schultz, Common Sense Media
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda: Origami Yoda, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Funny, charming tale of middle school crushes, friendships.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Elementary school readers will get a funny but insightful view into middle school curriculum and culture.

Positive Messages

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda's cast of unusual and insecure sixth graders show that wisdom can come from surprising sources; anyone may have something to teach us.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Tommy is honest about his feelings for Sara, and he admits remorse for his occasional unkindness toward Dwight. He's a regular kid who may let other boys and girls know it's natural to make mistakes, or to feel nervous about a crush. Dwight shows that a young man can let his freak flag fly and survive.


In the chapter "Dwight and the Fight," a bully named Zack is mean to a girl Dwight likes, so he avenges her by jumping the bully from behind a trash can. This happens offscreen, but readers are told that Zack "clobbered him," and Dwight walked away with a large bruise on his face.


Sixth graders think and talk about having crushes on members of the opposite sex, and one couple kisses at a school dance. The main narrator, Tommy, views PDAs (public displays of affection) with disdain.


There's some immature name-calling; kids call each other "idiot," "jerk," "fartface," "dork," "weirdo," "loser," and "pain in the butt."


One boy is known as the Cheeto Hog. Youtube is mentioned, as well as the Hallmark Channel, and mainstream movies, including Spiderman 3 and, of course, Star Wars.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tom Angleberger's The Strange Case of Origami Yoda is the first book in a series about a group of middle schoolers. In this outing, a member of the group named Dwight creates an origami finger puppet of the Stars Wars character Yoda and convinces at least some of his schoolmates that it's like an oracle who can can impart wisdom and predict the future. This novel is full of humor and light middle school angst over schoolwork, crushes, and friendships. The device of the Yoda puppet means there's a certain focus on popular culture, including kids' fascination with the Star Wars movies. There's also some middle school meanness, including one incidence of bullying, one fight, and name-calling among friends. The kids think and talk about members of the opposite sex whom they "like," and one couple kisses at a school dance.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 8 and 11-year-old Written byGenevieveRuth July 10, 2013
Teen, 14 years old Written byTheAlmightyCastform January 15, 2018

A strange case indeed, lots of Star Wars references.

So, first of all, this book has a LOT of Star Wars references which probably only fans will get (I didn't). The plot centers around a kid who brings to sch... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old October 2, 2016

The kind of book a kid should read

Dwight is a sixth grade middle schooler that is weird and has a strange personality. He has no friends in school which leads him to creating origami for attenti... Continue reading

What's the story?

In a group of friends on the edges of middle school society, the most unusual character is Dwight, a boy who's been known to sit in holes and mop up spills with the clothes he's wearing. One day, Dwight shows his friends an origami Yoda finger puppet he made and proceeds to channel the Star Wars prophet, telling classmates' fortunes in a Yoda-like voice. This book includes anecdotes related by the main narrator, Tommy, and several of their friends, as they debate whether origami Yoda is "real," meaning whether he can really predict the future and advise lovelorn and stressed out tweens.

Is it any good?

Middle school's awkward moments are fodder for ORIGAMI YODA, a funny, charming little book about tween crushes and friendships. Tom Angleberger creates situations and characters that are at once highly unusual and very relatable. The author is also ingenious in his use of a device--the origami Yoda-- that's both trendy and timeless, as Star Wars seems to be a film series that kids will keep "discovering" for generations to come.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether oragami Yoda can tell the future. Do you think kids at your school would believe in the origami Yoda?

  • Have you read other books that are narrated by more than one person? Do you like this approach to storytelling?

  • Do you know any kids like Dwight? Why do you think he does some of the odd things he does?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love Humor and books about school

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