Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

Imagine a typical middle school. It’s morning, before classes, in the library. Sixth graders congregate to finish homework and play on computers, but mostly they gather to talk. Boys tables, girls tables. Okay, now find the tables with the kids that don’t really fit any typical middle school stereotypes. Got it?

Now add an Origami Yoda, perched atop the index finger of one of the boys, offering sage advice to those who seek the wisdom of a Jedi master.

Yeah, I know. I had you until that last part. But trust me. It works.

Origami Yoda makes his first appearance at the April PTA Fun Night school dance when his advice, “Rush in fools do,” apparently saves Tommy from mortal embarrassment. (It involves a girl.) Origami Yoda’s next words of wisdom, “All of pants you must wet,” help Kellen make it to class on time without looking like he has an unfortunate stain on his khakis.

And that’s only the beginning. Origami Yoda also offers the students of McQuarrie Middle School the following tidbits:
  • “Let go of your feelings. Hate and revenge to the dark side only lead.” 
  • “The Twist you must learn.” 
  • “Stinks movie does.” 
  • “Mulked learn to spell you must. Forget not the T.”
There’s more, all of them equally cryptic yet amazingly accurate. And Tommy, Kellen, Lance, Mike, Quavando (but not Kellen) and even some of the girls are eager to believe in Origami Yoda’s power. Except for one thing. Origami Yoda sits on Dwight’s finger, and his advice comes from Dwight’s mouth, albeit in a mediocre impression of Yoda’s actual voice.

Dwight is the guy who wipes up juice spills at the PTA Fun Night with his shirt - while he’s wearing it. He gets stuck in the P.E. closet and blames squirrels, wears the same shirt for a month, and once wore a cape and insisted everyone call him Captain Dwight. As Tommy, the boy compiling everyone’s Origami Yoda stories, says, 
“You can never decide if [Dwight] does these things to be funny or if he’s just totally nuts. Nobody ever laughs WITH him, so how can he think he’s funny? But if he’s totally nuts, then how come he can have a normal conversation some days or fold origami or get straight A’s in math (but nothing else)?”
Author Tom Angleberger begins The Strange Case of Origami Yoda with a question: “Is Origami Yoda real?” Tommy and the rest of the friends each share their encounters as part of this case file and leave the final decision to the reader. Even Tommy isn’t completely convinced at the end, despite what may seem to be overwhelming evidence. You’ll have to make up your own mind, but let Origami Yoda’s words help.

“The Force - always may it be with you.”

2 comments:

a.herbert said...

Sounds like Tommy has a great imagination....think he'll become a writer? lol

Brian said...

The truth only Tommy speaks.

He's not making it all up. This stuff happened in his school and he's the one keeping a record of all the strange occurrences surrounding Origami Yoda.

Buy, yeah. Maybe Tommy is on his way to being an author.

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