Oh my gosh, how could I have NOT told you about this book series? I’m so disappointed in myself! I just finished the latest book, The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee, and suddenly realized I would have to back up to the beginning for this one. Do you love Star Wars? You. Must. Read. This.
Oops, I mean, “Read this, you must!”
It all starts in book 1, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda. The sixth graders at McQuarrie Middle School are busy dealing with typical middle school stuff, when the weird kid, Dwight, shows up with an origami Yoda he has folded. Not only does he wear the Yoda like a finger puppet, he makes it speak in a Yoda voice, which adds to his overall weirdness. However, the advice that the Origami Yoda gives is good. It’s really good. Can Dwight control the Force? How does this even work? How can someone who digs holes in the yard and then spends the day sitting in them give out such good advice? The book is narrated by Tommy, as he collects his classmates’ stories so they can relay their experiences with Dwight and Origami Yoda. The book is written as a “case file” by different authors, with cartoon illustrations throughout.
Every good story needs a villain, and in book 2, Darth Paper Strikes Back, Dwight has some competition. Harvey has been a non-believer in Origami Yoda since the beginning. When he comes to school with an origami Darth Vader, he is determined to get Dwight in trouble. He manages to get Dwight suspended based on one of Origami Yoda’s predictions, but again the kids assemble their stories to help prove Dwight’s innocence and make a presentation to the school board. This is a classic battle between the Force and the Dark Side, but who will win? Also included in this book are instructions on how to play a fun paper & pencil Star Wars game!
In book 3, The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee, Dwight is still suspended. The kids have no guidance from Origami Yoda this semester and are feeling a little lost. They actually miss Dwight being around and his quirky habits, too. Sara happens to live next door to Dwight, and she shows up at school with the Fortune Wookiee that she says Dwight threw to her from his bedroom window. The Fortune Wookiee is one of those folded fortune tellers, or cootie catchers, that open and close and have little notes written inside. Sara can do a fine Chewbacca impression, but everyone knows that the only person who can translate for Chewbacca is Han Solo. So in addition to the Fortune Wookiee, she also produces Han Foldo, the paper version of Han Solo. (Makes sense!) Nobody is quite sure how this new set-up works though; Origami Yoda seemed to use the Force, but Wookiees aren’t typically Jedi and don’t use the Force. How is Sara able to make this Fortune Wookiee give advice? Meanwhile, Dwight is doing okay at his new school, but he is becoming…normal. A normal Dwight is a boring Dwight, so part of this book’s case file is directed at Dwight himself. Strange things are happening at McQuarrie, which leads into the promise of another sequel!
Each of these books has instructions for how to fold your own Yoda, Darth Paper, Fortune Wookie, and Han Foldo. The characters all have their own voices and distinct personalities. They way they interact with each other is true to middle school. The Star Wars references are awesome, and the little drawings throughout the book crack me up. I highly recommend this series! Origami Yoda has an AR level of 4.7 and is worth 3 points, Darth Paper has an AR level of 4.6 and is worth 3 points, and Fortune Wookiee is so brand-spanking new it is not yet rated on AR. (I expect it to be at about the same level as the other two books.) Pass these books onto your favorite Star Wars fans, regardless of their age!