J’s Take on The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

Origami Yoda CoverThe Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger isn’t exactly what I was expecting. But it was surprising in a good way.

I thought it would be shorter. I also thought it would be paperback. It’s not overly long, but it wasn’t something I could read on one bus trip or lunch break. And it’s a very nice hardcover. Reminds me of the Doctor Who tie-in novels and The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities which you should totally buy, yo. A very nice look and feel to it.

Also, how can you resist that origami Yoda on the cover?!

For bonus points, I read this while listening to Weird Al’s “Yoda”. Yo-yo-yo-yo Yoda.

This book is laid out as case files, as the main character, Tommy, tries to work out if Origami Yoda is magic, or what. Origami Yoda is a Yoda origami puppet that a strange classmate of his, Dwight, made and designed himself. He wears it around on his finger and it gives sage advice to those who ask. In a bad Yoda voice with questionable Yoda syntax. (But the book makes a point of pointing that out!)

Other classmates have contributed to the case files, and added their thoughts and comments. And doodles.

I really have very little negative to say about this book. I liked that the pages were all crinkly (well, the design on them was of crinkly paper, the paper wasn’t actually crinkly). There are little tie fighters and X-wing fighters in the corners of the pages. The doodles are believably drawn by a kid, and funny! The one of the squirrels struck me particularly.

The book was just geeky enough for me, with Star Wars references, Shakespeare quotes, mention of Tycho Brahe. There are girls in here who don’t come off as idiots. (Although they do seem the goal of most of the male characters.) There’s even a hard-of-hearing girl, though she doesn’t get to write a case file herself.

So to my two problems with the book. First, the kids are in sixth grade, and they seem rather obsessed with girls and a PTA Fun Night dance that happens every month. That’s not the sixth grade I remember. (Though admittedly I am far from typical.) I wonder if it’s because it’s part of a middle school, whereas my sixth grade was still elementary school.

My origami Yoda

Imagination you must use


The other is the origami Yoda instructions at the back. I was worried I couldn’t follow them well, but in the end, I think I came out with a decent origami Yoda. I didn’t cut the paper in half and in half like it said, so he’s a large origami Yoda. He’s also not green.

Buuuut… it’s also not the Yoda(s) in the book. If you expect to make one like the Yoda on the cover, you’ll be disappointed. I wish the author had included two different versions of Yoda instructions. One easy one and one more complex one that looks nicer. I probably would’ve failed to make the good one properly, but hey.. I could try!


There’s a sequel out soon (already?) and I’m rather interested in seeing the return of the origami Jedi.