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

Common Sense Media says

Funny, charming tale of middle school crushes, friendships.

Age(i)

2
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5
6
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8
9
10
11
12
13
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

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

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.

Violence

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.

Sex

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.

Language

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

Consumerism

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
Not applicable

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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

Author:Tom Angleberger
Genre:School
Topics:Friendship, Misfits and underdogs, Space and aliens
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Abrams
Publication date:March 1, 2010
Number of pages:141
Publisher's recommended age(s):8 - 12
Available on:Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle, Nook, Paperback

This review of The Strange Case of Origami Yoda: Origami Yoda, Book 1 was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 8 and 11 year old Written byGenevieveRuth July 10, 2013
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

I love this author and this book!

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

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