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The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

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Subject: Sequoyah Book Award, Kevin Lauderdale
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The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda
Author Tom Angleberger
Country United States
Language English
Genre Children's book Realistic Fiction
Publisher Amulet Books
Publication date 2010
Pages 141 pages
ISBN ISBN 0-8109-8425-3

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda is a children's book written by Tom Angleberger and published in 2010 in which a young boy named Dwight folds an Origami Yoda, and gives advice to other school students. It is the first of a four book series, being followed by Darth Paper Strikes Back!, The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee, and The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett.

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda has been nominated for the Illinois State 2013 Rebecca Caudill Award.


Dwight is a sixth grader at McQuarrie Middle School who is considered quite weird and doesn't really have any friends. Then one day, Dwight makes an origami finger puppet of Yoda. Early, Origami Yoda gives advice that always seems to work, and may even predict the future. Students at McQuarrie soon become convinced that Origami Yoda has a special connection to the Force. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda tells the tale of Dwight and his mysterious Origami Yoda through the eyes of six graders Tommy, Kellen, Mike, Sara, Cassie, Lance, Quavondo, Jennifer, Amy, Rhondella, and a seventh grader named Caroline. Origami Yoda gives advice to anyone willing to listen—everything from how to stop being a crybaby to asking a girl to dance. However, there are still some who don't believe that Origami Yoda is for real. Tommy decides to write a case file to prove or disprove Origami Yoda's realness. He convinces a number of students to write about their experiences with Origami Yoda, while his friend Kellen illustrates the file. However, Harvey, who has always been cruel to Dwight and is skeptical about Origami Yoda's wisdom, just wants Dwight to admit that Origami Yoda is fake.


Angleberger has stated that partial inspiration for the book came from Origami artist Fumiaki Kawahata, whose origami Yoda has been seen on the Web. Inspiration also came from the unique style of writing associated with Star Wars.

The name of McQuarrie Middle School is a reference to Star Wars artist Ralph McQuarrie, who seems to have heavily influenced Angleberger.


Tommy Lomax

A sixth grader (in the first book) and a seventh grader in the sequels. He is friends with Kellen and Dwight, and has a crush on Sara. Tommy seeks the truth about Dwight and Origami Yoda. Tommy comes up with the idea of creating case files about the Origami Yoda, Darth Paper and Fortune Wookie.

Origami Yoda

The hero of the series. He guides the students of McQuarrie Middle School, and gives them advice. The original Origami Yoda meets his end when thrown into the garbage along with some baked beans after Tommy tells Dwight to stop being a loser. But Dwight remembers the folding pattern for Yoda and re-builds him. Origami Yoda claims to be from a tree, by way of the Asami Origami paper company.

Darth Paper

Created by Harvey, an antagonist of book 2, Darth Paper Strikes Back!. He teases Tommy and gets Dwight suspended. He is behind an unannounced grand scheme. Ultimately, he turns to the good and becomes Origami Anakin.

Harvey Cunningham

The main antagonist of the first two books, Harvey is focused on a single goal — to prove that Origami Yoda is not real. Harvey is always complaining and insults everyone. The creator of Darth Paper, he repeatedly boasts that his Darth Vader imitation is better than Dwight's Yoda imitation. He was Tommy and Kellen`s best friend at the beginning of the first book but they turn against him, fed up with him criticizing everyone. He writes a comment at the end of almost every story.

In the book 3, Harvey turns to supporting Tommy, Kellen, and Dwight with some of his end comments, even to the point of adding his own contribution to the mini Dwight Case File.

Kellen Campbell

A friend of Tommy, Kellen doodles in the case file, and believes in Origami Yoda to the point that he never doubts him. He has a crush on Rhondella, and becomes her almost-boyfriend at the end of the first book. Kellen has Tommy write down his stories from voice recordings, because he thinks writing things down is too much like homework. Kellen's comments are limited to one per book. Kellen will have Art2-D2 and Origami C-3PO in Art2-D2's Guide to Folding and Doodling.

Lance Alexander

A friend of Tommy and Kellen, Lance believes in Origami Yoda and is described by Tommy as being kind of weird. He becomes Amy`s boyfriend at the end of the first book. He helps with the case files in books 1 and 2.

Mike Coley

Helps with the case files in books 1 and 2. Mike believes in Origami Yoda. He cries when he gets worked up but he claims his tears are angry tears not “boo-hoo″ tears. He becomes Hannah's boyfriend at the end of the first book. He is described as being one of the two worst softball players in the whole school, the other being Dwight. He has a collection of warhammer figures.

Quavondo Phan (Cheeto Hog)

Believes in Origami Yoda, and helps with the case files in books 1 and 2. Quavondo had the nickname “Cheeto Hog” at the beginning of the first book; he asked Origami Yoda for help and afterwards people stopped using that nickname. He becomes Cassie's boyfriend at the end of the first book.

Sara Dorothy Bolt

Tommy's almost-girlfriend and Rhondella and Amy's best friend. Sara believes in Origami Yoda and helps with the case files in all three books. She lives next door to Dwight, who sits in holes in her yard — to the disdain of Sara's father. In book 2, Sara briefly goes out with Tater Tot, but dumps him after a game of miniature golf that Sara wins, resulting in him being mean to her. Sara goes back to Tommy, who is very excited about this. Sara also claims to have received an origami Chewbacca from Dwight and gives advice herself in the third book, also creating an origami “Han Foldo” to translate the origami Chewbacca.

Rhondella Carrasquilla

Best friends with Sara and Amy, and Kellen's girlfriend by the end of the first book. She believes in Origami Yoda and helps with the case files in books 1 and 2. She is angry with Kellen throughout the second book after his attempt to help her campaign to become vice president by hanging up a poster, only for it to result in her losing.

Amy Youmans

Lance's girlfriend and Sara and Rhondella`s best friend. Amy believes in Origami Yoda and helps with the case files in books 1 and 2.

Cassie Dillon

Quavondo's girlfriend, Cassie believes in Origami Yoda but is often reluctant to take his advice. She helps with the case files in books 1 and 2.

Caroline Broome

Dwight's girlfriend, though she doesn't consider their visits “dates.” Caroline is a year older than Dwight and Tommy. She always wears hearing aids and can also read lips, though some people still think of her as deaf. In the first book she is a seventh grader at Mcquarrie Middle while in the second book she is an eighth grader at the private school, Tippett Academy. Caroline adores Dwight but seems to think that the advice of Origami Yoda is actually coming from Dwight.


At the beginning of the first book, Hannah is the girlfriend of a seventh grader named Mark. By the end of book, for reasons unexplained, she has dumped him and dances with Mike.

Tater Tot

A popular, athletic boy who never listens to Origami Yoda. He is Sara's boyfriend briefly in the second book, but is dumped after reacting meanly when Sara beats him at Putt-Putt. Mike was jealous of him at the beginning of the first book because Mike always struck out and Tater Tot always got home runs.


A popular girl who believes in Origami Yoda because she is a huge Star Wars fan, but things change in the second book. She asks Origami Yoda to help her get into the cheerleading squad his response is “Zero Hour comes. Prepare to meet your doom!”. She decides never to ask Origami Yoda anything ever again and then Harvey convinces her to tell on Dwight, turning to the “dark side”. Later, she realizes Origami Yoda meant she would be kicked out of the cheerleading squad because she got a zero in English.


In the first book an eighth grader who asks Origami Yoda for advice. When Origami Yoda says he will tell her the next day, she calls Dwight a “fartface” and the next day Origami Yoda gives her the wrong answer on purpose as punishment for insulting Dwight or Origami Yoda mulcted her. As a result, she does not believe in Origami Yoda.

Zack Martin

A school bully who is one year ahead of Dwight and Tommy but, according to Tommy, probably failed two or three times and is likely about fifteen years old. He is attacked by Dwight in the first book after breaking Caroline's pencils. Tommy also reports that he (Tommy) called a kid an idiot, who turned out to be Zack's cousin, so Zack attacked him; and that another time Zack punched Harvey in the back and that Harvey said it was for no reason but Tommy thinks it was because Harvey had said something insulting.

Mahir Kahleel (Murky)

Murky is a sixth grader at McQuarrie who is friends with Kellen. Like many of the characters, Murky is a big Star Wars fan. He often uses made-up phrases called “Murky-isms” — examples are “total stooky stuff” and “massively bolt”, which he uses in his entries in Tommy's case file, in books 2 and 3.

Ben Mantrue

A friend of Murky`s, Ben is a sixth grader in book 2. He figures out how to convert Dwight's five-fold Origami Yoda into a ten-fold Darth Paper, after Harvey refuses to show Tommy how to make Darth Paper.


Harvey's cousin, JC tested Harvey's intellect in Jabba the Puppett, and was a supporting character in the subplot. His appearance looks quite a lot like Harvey, though with thicker hair, and an even bigger mouth.

Principal Rabbski

The principal of McQuarrie Middle School and the main antagonist of The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee and the new book The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppet. She wants students to focus on the fundamentals to do well on the Standards of Learning Test.


Three sequels have been released:

Darth Paper Strikes Back!

The first sequel, Darth Paper Strikes Back! (ISBN 9781419705175), takes place one year after the events of The Strange Case of Origami Yoda. The book includes instructions for a simpler version of Darth Paper (whose designer is known as Super-folder Ben), as well a 5-fold version of Origami Yoda and one to make a pre-colored Fortune Wookie.

The plot, as quoted by "It is a dark time at Ralph McQuarrie middle school. After suffering several Origami Yoda-related humiliations, Harvey manages Dwight suspended from school for being a "troublemaker." Origami Yoda pleads with Tommy and Kellen to save Dwight by making a new case file-one that will show that Dwight's presence benefits McQuarrie. With the help of their friends, Tommy and Kellen record cases such as "Origami Yoda and the Pre-eaten wiener,""Origami Yoda and the Exploding Pizza Bagels," and "Origami Yoda and Wonderland: The Musical." But Harvey and his Darth Paper puppet have a secret plan that could make Dwight's suspension permanent..."

An emergency Origami Yoda, along with a simple version of Darth Paper, is featured as a guest star and a how-to-fold.

Other sequels

Two additional sequels have been released:

         Dwight goes to another school,Tippet Academy, and Sara makes
         a origami Chewbacca to fill in for Origami Yoda(and a origami Han Solo)
         Dwight returns to Mcquarrie Middle School and 191 students form a "Rebel Alliance"
         to cancel the "FunTime" program to help meet the minimum standard state test

Additionally, an activity book has been released:

External links

  • Official Blog
  • Official Publisher Site
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