The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

origamiyodaThe Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger is another Cybils book. It won in the middle grade fiction category. I have to admit that I don't read a lot of middle grade fiction but I really liked this book. The stories in the book felt to me like they were things my friends and I would have done at that age.

Dwight created an Origami Yoda and Origami Yoda gives advice to pretty much anyone who asks. Now Dwight is his own person. He doesn't quite go along with the flow. People find Dwight weird and aren't always so nice to him. But Yoda gives people pretty good advice -- he's kind of like a Magic 8 Ball. Tom decides that he has to figure out why Yoda gives good advice when Dwight is well, weird. So he has everyone tell their stories while he and some of his friends weight in with comments and the odd sketch. Is Dwight maybe not as weird (or possibly is he weirder) than they all thought? Or is Origami Yoda magical?

The book, with all its talk of origami, transported me back to elementary school. We did a few sessions on origami. We had a Japanese teacher's aid for a couple of years. At least I think it was the same teacher's aid. I'm talking grade 1 or grade 2 so it's all kind of hazy. I'm pretty sure it was the same woman both years. I don't really remember that much about her except that I think that her name started with a "K". There may be a photo around here, or maybe at my mother's, of our class with her. I remember in the first grade she taught us to make paper wallets. I don't remember what she taught us the next year. It created a storm of origami making among my classmates and well, I sucked at it. Origami is a bit like sewing in that there's an exactness involved if you want to get a really good product. I'm simply not an exact person. Reading this book I was reminded that my folds were never crisp enough and my triangles not exactly perfect. I've learned to be ok with that.

There are instructions for making your own origami Yoda at the end of the book. I meant to try it but we were making a trip to the library and it seemed silly to keep it to just make myself a Yoda when there were holds on the book. I hope that children who borrow this book make their own. At some point when I have some time I'm going to find instructions online for how to make my own Origami Yoda. Maybe I'll make a whole army of Origami Yodas. They won't be crisp and perfect but somehow I think that's just right.