Review posted April 16, 2013.
Amulet Books, New York, 2012. 193 pages.
I love the Origami Yoda books, but I was a little disappointed in the latest installment. I think my main problem was that this is really only the beginning of a story. Many things are left unresolved, and there are fearsome administrative school changes looming. When I reflect that Tom Angleberger tied up his other two books incredibly well, and that I wasn't as enamored of them when right in the middle, I suspect that I will have more enthusiasm for this book once the storyline is resolved.
During this book, there's not as much of a unifying theme, though I think the announced changes coming up will give the next book some urgency. In this book, the main problem is that Dwight is acting normal instead of weird, and it's a little hard to see that as a problem. Even the characters aren't sure if they should see it as a problem.
Tom Angleberger again does a marvelous job of mocking wrong-headed authorities. There's a return of Mr. Good Clean Fun. And the school Dwight is now attending is simply scary when they all treat Dwight as "special."
In this book, while Dwight's away, Sara claims to have a Fortune Wookiee from him -- a folded fortuneteller decorated like Chewbacca. His grunts and groans are interpreted by Han Foldo. Though the advice mostly works out, it's not as mysterious and magically appropriate as that given by Origami Yoda in the earlier books.
Mind you, my disappointment when the story didn't finish was minor. I'm still a big fan of these books and am very glad the series isn't over. I'm not quite as enamored as with the first book (That one was fantastic!), but was glad to read more about the characters.
This is still a very kid-friendly book, with lots of drawings (by Kellen) in the margins, and chapters written by the different characters, giving their perspectives. It still captures well the lives of middle school students. I think readers should definitely read this series in order, to truly appreciate what's going on. And once they've read The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, they will definitely be pleased with anything more about the characters. I'm looking forward to seeing how Tom Angleberger wraps up this tale.