The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, by Tom Angleberger (lexile: 760; AR book level: 4.7; 141 pp)
Origami Yoda — is he REAL, or just a green paperwad?
That’s the crucial question facing 6th-grader Tommy, whose very LIFE depends on it. OK, not his life, but at least whether he will risk public humiliation by asking Sara to dance at Fun Night on Friday.
You see, Tommy’s friend Dwight, the quintessential* 6th grade loser, has created his very own origami Yoda finger puppet. And while Dwight is clueless, socially awkward, and always in trouble, Origami Yoda is WISE, even able to predict the future! Kids direct their questions to Yoda, and Dwight, in Yoda-esque voice, answers. Among other things, he predicts a pop quiz, solves a mystery, and saves Kellen from embarrassment with his sage advice (“All of pants you must wet” — you’ll have to read to find out how THAT applies!)
Most kids believe in Origami Yoda’s powers, but skeptical Harvey doesn’t. So Tommy sets out to compile the “Origami Yoda Case Files”: students record what Origami Yoda did for them, and Harvey gets to comment (with Kellen adding drawings in the margins). In the end it comes down to a showdown between TWO competing Origami Yodas — which one will Tommy believe?
Origami Yoda is clever and fun, and I’m sure most middle-schoolers will identify with the awkwardness and just plain weirdness of middle-school society. Of course, it includes instructions for making your very own Origami Yoda. And it’s also one of the nominees for the 2013 Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Award in Illinois.
* “quintessential”: A really sweet word that will impress the socks off your teacher. It means “the best or perfect example of something.”