How did I get it: The library, but I’m going to be buying them ASAP.
Why did I read it: I’ve been meaning to read this series for a long time now.
For The Strange Case of Origami Yoda:
In this funny, uncannily wise portrait of the dynamics of a sixth-grade class and of the greatness that sometimes comes in unlikely packages, Dwight, a loser, talks to his classmates via an origami finger puppet of Yoda. If that weren’t strange enough, the puppet is uncannily wise and prescient. Origami Yoda predicts the date of a pop quiz, guesses who stole the classroom Shakespeare bust, and saves a classmate from popularity-crushing embarrassment with some well-timed advice. Dwight’s classmate Tommy wonders how Yoda can be so smart when Dwight himself is so clueless. With contributions from his puzzled classmates, he assembles the case file that forms this novel.
For Darth Paper Strikes Back:
It is a dark time at Ralph McQuarrie Middle School. After suffering several Origami Yoda–related humiliations, Harvey manages to get Dwight suspended from school for being a “troublemaker.” Origami Yoda pleads with Tommy and Kellen to save Dwight by making a new case file—one that will show how Dwight’s presence benefits McQuarrie. With the help of their friends, Tommy and Kellen record cases such as “Origami Yoda and the Pre-eaten Wiener,” “Origami Yoda and the Exploding Pizza Bagels,” and “Origami Yoda and Wonderland: The Musical.” But Harvey and his Darth Paper puppet have a secret plan that could make Dwight’s suspension permanent . . .
For The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee:
With Dwight attending Tippett Academy this semester, the kids of McQuarrie Middle School are on their own—no Origami Yoda to give advice and help them navigate the treacherous waters of middle school. Then Sara gets a gift she says is from Dwight—a paper fortune-teller in the form of Chewbacca. It’s a Fortune Wookiee, and it seems to give advice that’s just as good as Yoda’s—even if, in the hands of the girls, it seems too preoccupied with romance. In the meantime, Dwight is fitting in a little too well at Tippett. Has the unimaginable happened? Has Dwight become normal? It’s up to his old friends at McQuarrie to remind their kooky friend that it’s in his weirdness that his greatness lies.
Review: After reading one unsatisfying book after another, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, Darth Paper Strikes Back, and The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee were definitely the books I was looking for. I read one right after the other, and I still cannot articulate just how fun, sweet, and hilarious they were. What I can say is that checking all three of them out was one of the best reading decisions I’ve made this year.
I loved the way the books tie in and refer to the Star Wars series and Angleberger’s believable yet humorous take on middle school. I greatly enjoyed that each case file moved from student’s point of view to the next, the strange comments/observations everyone makes in regards to the cases, and the little drawings provided for each one. While all three books are excellent, I think the third is my favorite because I really loved the scene towards the end where Tommy makes one final effort to get through to Dwight, who has been taken from one school where he was treated like a freak to another school where he’s treated like a beloved oddity. In each one, I loved the way Origami Yoda, Origami Chewbacca, and Han Foldo* aided the kids in dealing with their schools, each other, crushes, mistakes, social faux-pas, and a less-than-understanding administrative staff.
In conclusion, perfect for Star Wars fans, kids who aren’t entirely fans of reading just yet, and enthusiastic young readers looking for something fun. For me, they also come with the added bonus of being books I can recommend to patrons because I think they’re worth reading and not just because they’re popular. The next book in this series can’t come out soon enough, and I’m also very eager to get my hands on other middle grade books by Tom Angleberger.
How I would rate each one: 5 out of 5 stars.