Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Strange Case of the Origami Yoda

It was weird. First, I saw a review of Tom Angleberger's The Strange Case of the Origami Yoda, and then when I was looking for Read poster generators, I came across his blog. THEN at the book look, there was an ARC of the book. Obviously, Origami Yoda was telling me "Read you must"!

Dwight's that kid that's not quite...right. His hair's uncombed, he has stains on his shirt, and he doesn't always make a lot of sense, but when he crafts the aforementioned Yoda and uses it to give out cryptic advice, people wonder if maybe there is more to Dwight after all. Or maybe to the Yoda.

Tommy isn't sure, so he compiles a selection of anecdotes about Yoda's exploits, which is then edited by Harvey. The pages have a Wimpy Kid feel to them because of the different typefaces and drawings, but the story is so much more amusing. Set mostly in school, Yoda gives advice to students in a variety of settings: Should I ask a girl to dance? What word will appear on the spelling bee? How should I repair my reputation as a Cheeto Hog? (Intrigued? Good! Now read the book!) The children have to interpret the sibylline advice, with often comical results.

I loved this one, and I haven't even seen any Star Wars movies. Well, except the one with the teddy bears on flying mopeds. The nervous, budding romances were true to life, the writing was very clever (I measure this by how much of the book I feel compelled to read aloud to my children-- this was close to Sonnenblick levels), and while the book looked goofy enough to attract Captain Underpants fans, it had some deeper messages, too. Plus an orgami Yoda. Good stuff. Teen Boy liked, but I could tell it was slightly young for him.

I haven't bought any "pink" books for a long time, so I was glad to read Lisa Schroeder's It's Raining Cupcakes. It was similar to My Life in Pink and Green and The Teashop Girls in that it dealt with a family run business having some difficulties; in this book, a new cupcake shop that is facing competition from a brownie chain store. Isabel, whose nervous and unhappy mother is starting the store, longs to travel beyond the confines of her small Oregon town. She reads travel books and keeps notes to herself in a passport protector. She is supportive of her mother, who has trouble dealing with the vagaries of life in general; has predictable problems with her best friend; gets to know her new neighbors. She also enters a baking contest in order to win a trip to New York City. This is what I was expecting from several other cupcake-covered books that have come out recently-- something sweet and fun to, read. My girls will love this. (Thanks to Ronni for info about the contest Ms. Schoeder is having at her blog:

Two of my best patrons are 6th grade twin girls, so when I saw Take Two, written by twins Julia DeVillers and Jennifer Roy, I had to pick it up. Unfortunately it is the second in the series, and there were just enough references to the first book that I wished I had read Trading Faces first. Payton and Emma look alike but are very different; Payton cares more about what she wears and has some trouble in school, whereas Emma is just the opposite. The two have to do community service as the result of a prank pulled in the first book. Payton gets stuck helping with the school play, and Emma has to tutor one of her guidance conselour's twin boys. Typical middle school attitudes, friendships and situations occur. As I said, reading the first book would have helped, but I am definitely ordering that one.

Also, after my whining post yesterday, I appreciated this exchange on page 129.

"I didn't know you were BFF with the librarians."
"Of course I am," Emma replied. "Library media specialists are a backbone of the school as well as a fount of knowledge."

Thank you, Ms. DeVillers and Ms. Roy, for the support!


  1. Hmm. I hadn't thought of Origami Yoda in connection with Wimpy Kid, but I see you are right. Although I still think the "cartoons" are pretty bad. I'll have to reconsider this. Probably hand out the ARC to some kids and see if I get feedback...

  2. Lisa is having a contest for librarians and teachers. You should enter!

  3. I've got to find this Yoda book!

  4. It's Raining Cupcakes looks so cute! Thanks for the recommendation.

  5. Thank you for the beautiful response to my blog post on worrying about how successful our book is. I'd love to share your response on my blog at some point. Would that be okay?

    Thanks also for reading and reviewing CUPCAKES!!!

  6. Oh, my - I add so many more books to my TBR list whenever I stop by your blog. Argh!

    Also I just had one of those unsettling revelations, which made me realize how long I've been reading your blog as well as how quickly my kids are growing up. I used to read it for book recommendations for me (personal and as a librarian) - now I also count on your reviews for books to recommend to my daughter. Thanks so much - but wow, time does go by so fast, doesn't it?!