Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

Angleberger, T. (2010). The Strange Case of Origami Yoda. New York: Amulet Books.
This book is a Notable Book for Children as well as a 2011 Texas Bluebonnet Award nominee.

Great book for reluctant readers!  It is very funny and the different perspectives keep it interesting!

Exposition: Dwight, a quirky sixth grader, creates an origami Yoda finger puppet who gives advice to anyone that asks.  Tommy is his friend, who thinks he is weird, but wonders if Origami Yoda might have some special powers. Harvey is another character who definitely feels like Origami Yoda is a fake.  The book is a collection of case files by different kids that asked Origami Yoda for advice and whether or not they think he has magical powers or not.
Conflict:  The main problem in the story is that the kids at school are trying to figure out whether Origami Yoda is real or not.  They recognize that it IS a real piece of paper, but want to know if it really does have secret powers as Dwight claims.  Tommy accumulates case files to prove that Origami Yoda is real.  Harvey disputes those claims.
Rising Action: Several different kids have stories that back up that Origami Yoda is indeed real, and the advice he gives really helps.  Tommy wants to ask it a question about a girl, but is unsure of whether it is real or if Dwight is just fooling everyone.
Climax:  Throughout the book, Harvey has explanations for every time Origami Yoda says something and it works out.  Harvey does not like Dwight and the rest of the group wrestles with how to be friends with Dwight.  Tommy looks at each time someone has asked Origami Yoda a question and the answer made sense and worked out.  He also evaluates all the times the answers appeared to be stupid answers.  He wants to know whether Origami Yoda has magical powers before he embarrasses himself and asks whether Sara likes him.  He finally gets up the courage to ask and Origami Yoda gives him a nonsense type of answer.
Falling Action: Tommy is mad that Dwight won't give him a clear answer, so he says to Origami Yoda that Dwight is a loser.  Dwight gets mad and wads up Origami Yoda and throws him in the trash. Harvey is the only one who is happy about this and he creates his own Origami Yoda.  His Origami Yoda tells Tommy that Sara doesn't like him, and then all of a sudden, Dwight has his Origami Yoda and says that Sara does like Tommy.  There will be a dual of Origami Yodas.  Whoever's answer is right will be the real Origami Yoda.
Resolution:  Tommy finds out at the dance that Sara does like him, not because of Origami Yoda, but because Sara had asked Dwight if Tommy liked her and Dwight tells him. Whether Origami Yoda has secret powers or not, everyone is happy at the way the dance turns out.

This will be a great read, especially for boys, in grades 4-6. The dialogue between the boys is similar to how boys that age would talk to each other.  In addition, the narration in the case file by different characters gives you insight into them.   You can see how nervous and insecure Tommy is feeling by his additions to the case files.  You also see that Dwight, although quirky, is a very likeable character, just wanting to have friends.  The author does a great job of delivering a book that kids can relate to as well as be entertained by.

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