Darth Paper Strikes Back

by Tom Angleberger

Tom Angleberger's Darth Paper Strikes Back

Book review by Monica Friedman

Ages 8-12

The Sequel to Origami Yoga Offers up More Folded Paper Star Wars Hilarity

When we last left our heroes (read Monica's review of the first book in the Origami Yoda series), Tommy and his friends had determined that Origami Yoda, a folded piece of paper worn as a finger puppet by their unusual classmate, Dwight, was most likely magical.

Origami Yoda certainly offers incredibly good advice, considering he’s controlled by a kid who has trouble expressing himself intelligibly in the best of circumstances. Origami Yoda even accomplished the “amazing miracle of making a school Fun Night actually fun.” But now that seventh grade’s started, everything has changed.

Review - Darth Paper Strikes Again

The only person who was never convinced about Origami Yoda was Harvey, and on the first day of school, he shows up with “an origami Darth Vader, made out of black paper, with shiny silver eyes and a red paper lightsaber,” determined to destroy Dwight and Origami Yoda. Now everything’s gone wrong.

Last year, when Origami Yoda gave cryptic advice, the kids were eventually able to figure it out. But this year, when Jen asks if she should try out for the JV cheerleading squad at the high school, nobody understands the response, and Jen gets scared enough to complain to the principal.

Dwight gets an in-school suspension, followed by an expulsion and a referral to CREF, “the Correctional and Remedial Education Facility—the school where they send the really, really bad kids, which Dwight isn’t.” Even the “toughest, meanest, nastiest” guys get beat up there, which means Dwight doesn’t stand a chance.

On his way out, Origami Yoda begs Tommy, “The truth for the school board you must write. Another case file is needed.” So Tommy and the other kids set out to document all the amazing ways that Dwight and Origami Yoga have helped the school, improving the fundraising drive, the performance of Alice in Wonderland, and the no video games policy in the library.

If only Harvey hadn’t turned to the Dark Side, sabotaging their work every step of the way. If only principal Rabbski weren’t so concerned with the “constant distraction from the Standards of Learning” test. If only someone would listen to Tommy when he says that Dwight is only trying to help, and that Origami Yoda always knows what he’s talking about, even if no one understands it at the time.

Review - Darth Paper Strikes Again

My stepson (age 9) was literally roaring with laughter and pounding the floor as he read this book, which also includes many abysmal Star Wars puns and numerous humorous drawings. Darth Paper Strikes Back: An Origami Yoda Book is a fresh take on the age-old questions of middle-grade literature.

  • How far can kids go in protest when they witness unfairness in school policy?
  • What does it mean to be an outsider in a public school, and what power does that position hold?
  • And, of course, what’s up with that weird kid?

Tommy and his friends don’t know if they can keep Dwight from getting thrown out of school for good, but they will learn some surprising answers to these other questions as they complete their noble quest.

Read more of Monica's book reviews.

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