Title: Darth Paper Strikes Back
Author: Tom Angleberger
Series: Origami Yoda, #2
Date(s) read: January 26 – 27, 2013
Genre: Middle Grade humour
Source: Library (Hardcover)
NOT SUCH A LONG TIME AGO, IN A MIDDLE SCHOOL NOT SO FAR, FAR AWAY…
Something amazing happened. A weird kid named Dwight made an origami finger puppet of Yoda. (That wasn’t the amazing thing–just typical Dwight weirdness.) the amazing thing was that Origami Yoda gave great advice. He could predict the date of a pop quiz, tell a guy if a girl likes him or not, and keep kids from embarrassing themselves in a dozen different ways. Most of the sixth graders were convinced he was using the Force.
But now, a year later, it’s a dark time at McQuarrie Middle School. Dwight has been suspended and may be expelled, which means no more Origami Yoda. Even worse, Darth Paper, a puppet created by Dwight’s nemesis, Harvey, has taken Yoda’s place. He spews insults and evil and just may be responsible for getting Dwight kicked out in the first place. Now the kids of McQuarrie are trying to build a case to save Dwight. This is their case file.
Like I had said in my review of The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, I need to read Middle Grade books more. Darth Paper Strikes Back, the second installment in this series, had all the charm and humour like the first book, as well as plenty of great messages for readers.
The thing I really like about these books is that they could be super silly — and in some ways they are — but they also teach readers things like compassion, how to say the right thing, and how to fight for what you believe. Origami Yoda shows the kids in McQuarrie Middle School how to be nice to one another and how not to hurt other peoples’ feelings. Of course, Darth Paper is probably the opposite and just wants bad things to happen, but that’s only because of Harvey — and Harvey plays a good Darth Paper.
The important thing is that the kids listen to Origami Yoda. They’re better people for listening to him. I really liked how this story, while outlining different scenarios where Origami Yoda had saved some kid in the school, isn’t just about Origami Yoda doing good. Instead, the story is about Dwight and how the school needs a kid like him — how the school has come to love his familiar face around the halls, even if he is a little quirky.
The story also teaches kids that being quirky, or being a little bit different is okay. Dwight may walk around with an Origami Yoda on his finger, but he’s accepted. The story also shows us Caroline, who is deaf but can read lips, and how she wanted to just be a normal kid, not sectioned out just because she was deaf.
And like most Middle Grade stories, this one has a happy ending, but not the happy ending I had thought. In fact, I was surprised by the ending, with both Dwight’s story and Tommy’s story. I like how this book stood on its own, giving me absolutely no idea what the next book in the series would be about — would we still have Tommy? Would it be about Dwight? Would a new narrator come into play?
Just like in the first book in the series, this one has all the great doodles, the individual case studies, the inserts from both Harvey and Tommy at the end of each case study, and lots of awesome Star Wars references. Really, if these books don’t get kids into Star Wars, I’m not sure what will!
These books are fast and fun, and a great read for readers of all ages. I highly recommend this series!