I don’t know about you, but middle school pretty much ranks way up there in the contest for worst years of my life. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda does an amazing job of capturing all of that preteen angst and misery while giving you a reason to smile. There’s just about every kind of pre-teen meanness you can remember: exclusion, peer pressure to ignore less cool kids, mean nicknames, the terror of being unathletic and uncoordinated during gym class, fear of teasing and embarrassment. It’s really all here. If you’ve lived through it, you’ll squirm along with them. For kids that are living it right now, this may just be the reassurance they need that they are normal and it’s going to be okay.
The book is told primarily by Tommy, about his friend Dwight. Dwight is enough of a dork that even the other dorks aren’t so sure about him. But everything gets turned upside down when Dwight makes an origami Yoda and sticks it on his finger. Now everyone is interested in what Yoda has to say, even people who would never have listened to Dwight. Tommy conducts interviews and asks friends for their opinions all in the hunt to figure out what’s really going on with Dwight and his strangely omniscient finger puppet.
Great for: Anyone who’s ever felt like an outsider.
It’s possible you’ll be able to sell this to Diary of a Wimpy Kid fans, because it’s aimed a similar audience and has some cool doodly pictures.
Sex, Nudity, Dating – A good portion of the book revolves around liking a girl and wanting to know if she likes you back. This of course might involve dancing with her, thinking about kissing and flirting. There is a kiss. There is some handholding.
Profanity – “fartface,” “jerk,” “bejeezus.” Also, there is a picture of a squirrel saying “I like nuts.” Believe me, the kids are going to get it. I refuse to admit whether or not I snickered. All right. I did. I can’t help it. This book completely made me 13 again.
Death, Violence and Gore – There is a fight between two students and some punching.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – None
Frightening or Intense Things – Does a middle school dance count as frightening or intense? Because it’s been a long time, but I seem to recall it being both.