Monday, June 13, 2011

Up to Speed

Things have been really slow at my desk these days. My computer would make snail races look like NASCAR. Three technicians have come to scratch their heads and offer advice. I hope the situation is changed. Seems a little faster today. I might be able to update my blog before the summer ends. :0)

Moving right along, momentum is something you won’t want your boy readers to lose. School is out and they might think books can be put away for weeks. However, the weather is beastly hot and moms are hoping kids will find something to do in the shade. Here’s a great boy book that just might keep those reluctant readers turning pages.

THE STRANGE CASE OF ORIGAMI YODA by Tom Angleberger, Abrams, 2010

Question: Is Origami Yoda for real?

In the introductory chapter, Tommy explains that he needs to know if Origami Yoda is real so he can decide if he should follow the advice asked and given.

Tommy wants scientific evidence and sets out to get it this way: Each classmate is asked to relate in writing a story of an experience with Origami Yoda and then Harvey, an avowed non-believer, adds a comment. Then Tommy comments again. Kellen contributes comic art or caricatures or just plain doodles to this growing case file. Art blends with text to create the look of a 6th grade boy’s creation, a journal of sorts. Pages look worn as if the notebook has been passed around.

Harvey, the non-believer, thinks Origami Yoda is a green paper wad. His sharp commentary adds balance to the experiences shared by those who want to believe IF the advice is what they want to hear even though it takes some pondering to figure out what the advice actually means.

The reason for all the doubt is that the green paper wad is a creation of Dwight, a rather unusual classmate, referred to and thought of as a geek, dork, weirdo, misfit, or just plain strange. Dwight produces Origami Yoda, a finger puppet, usually during lunch, when status is indicated by who is sitting where and with whom–or not. When Origami Yoda appears, he makes wise pronouncements in a voice quite unlike Dwight’s.

More questions:
How can Origami Yoda be so wise when Dwight is, well, Dwight?

On the other hand,what if Origami Yoda is for real? His wisdom works out to seem right often enough to keep the kids from thinking it’s all a bid for attention from Dwight.

If your question is whether the boys wonder about girls, remember this is a book about sixth grade boys. You probably don’t have to ask Origami Yoda.

This book speaks boy from cover to cover, page to page, words to doodles.

Instructions at the back of the book aid the reader in making his own origami puppet. Who knows? Maybe the wisdom of another generation of origami heroes will direct a reluctant reader to try another book, and another. It’s worth a try.

Here's what Origami Yoda has to say for
himself.

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