Strong is Vader (Even in Paper Form)

by Amy Kraft on October 6, 2011

When last we left The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, I was convinced, as were most of the characters in the book, that Origami Yoda’s power was real. That little paper finger puppet got Mike to stop crying in class, he got the whole class to get together and do the twist, and he fueled the flames of romance between Tommy and Sara. If you’ll remember, Origami Yoda sits on the finger of Dwight, a very strange boy who can’t possibly be the actual source of Origami Yoda’s sage advice. Thus, everyone believes in the force. Everyone except Harvey, that is. (Cue music: Duh duh duh du-duh-duh du-duh duh…) Now, on Harvey’s finger is Darth Paper!

In Darth Paper Strikes Back, Harvey has it in for Dwight just as Darth Paper has it in for Origami Yoda, and light sabers aren’t going to cut it. Instead Harvey sets the wheels in motion to get Dwight kicked out of school. And it might happen, too, so as Dwight is leaving the school grounds, Origami Yoda tells Tommy, “The truth for the school board you must write. Another case file is needed.”

What follows is much like the first book, with kids telling stories about Dwight and Origami Yoda to prove that he’s a good kid to the school board. It’s as entertaining as the first book, though it lacks the romance, which I missed in this one. Darth Paper Strikes Back has some great storytelling that has some serious surprises at the end. One, maybe two, of the characters could give Keyser Söze a run for his money. Of course Origami Yoda tells us on the final page that the end this is not. I’d like to see some paper Princess Leia and Han Solo action in the next one. Maybe a paper Wookie or two.

I’m becoming a real fan of this Tom Angleberger fellow. Not only did I score my own Paper Darth from him at Book Expo, but he’s also put up handy-dandy instructions on YouTube for you to make your own. You should also buy the book because of its detailed how-to drawings.

I’m sure I’ll gush about Tom Angleberger again later this month when I see him on a panel called “Are pictures worth 1,000 words? Highly illustrated books” at Bookfest @ Bank Street, along with Libby Gleeson, Armin Greder, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Shaun Tan, and Brian Selznick!

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