The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda is a children's novel written by Tom Angleberger that was first published on March 1, 2010, by Amulet Books.[1] It follows the story of a young boy named Tommy who is trying to figure out if Dwight's Origami Yoda is actually real or it's a hoax that Dwight created. [2] It became the first in a series of popular Star Wars themed novels penned by Angleberger, which includes Darth Paper Strikes Back!, The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee, The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett, Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue, and Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus as well as an activity book titled ART2-D2's Guide to Folding and Doodling. There is also a rare art book with Han foldo on it.

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda
AuthorTom Angleberger
CountryUnited States
GenreChildren's book Realistic Fiction
Published2010 Amulet Books
Media typePrint
Pages141 pages

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda was nominated for the Illinois State 2013 Rebecca Caudil Award.


Dwight is a sixth grader at McQuarrie Middle School who is considered quite weird. One day, Dwight folds an origami finger puppet of Yoda, a popular Star Wars figure. Through an imitation voice, Dwight offers advice to his classmates through Yoda. Some students at McQuarrie soon become convinced that Origami Yoda has a special connection to the Force , while others remain skeptical. A fellow sixth-grader named Tommy decides to write a case file to prove if Origami Yoda is real. 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, attempts to disprove Origami Yoda's connection to the [Force].


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.

Main characters

The main characters in the book are Tommy, Dwight, Kellen, Yoda and Harvey.

Darth Paper

Created by Harvey Cunninghan, 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 side and becomes Origami Anakin.

Origami Yoda

Dwight's finger puppet that he brings to McQuarrie Middle School. He is known for being able to predict the future using the "force". How to fold origami yoda: the instructions are in The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger. However, we don't ever get to know how to fold the actual origami yoda, just the simple one that Dwight created. Also there is an instruction for a five-fold origami Yoda in the next case file - Darth Paper Strikes Back, also by Tom Angleberger.

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 always complains 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 turned against him, as they are fed up with him criticizing everyone. He writes a comment at the end of almost every story.

In 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.

Principal Rabbski

The principal of McQuarrie Middle School and the main antagonist of The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee and The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett. She wants students to focus on the fundamentals to do well on the Standards of Learning Test. In the next book Princess Labelmaker changes her mind and changes sides. She is Polish American.

Mr. Howell

A teacher at McQuarrie Middle School. He is known to be very harsh and strict and does not tolerate any fooling around in class. He has shown to despise Funtime deeply and even sabotaged Prinipal Rabbski's parent conference in "The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppet". He later revealed an origami Jabba the Hutt he made to Tommy and Kellen.


The creator of Origami Yoda. He carries around Yoda on his finger. He is known to do weird or dumb things like sit in holes. In book 2, he was suspended for the semester. In book 6, he wrote his only story for the case file. He is of Scottish and Cherokee descent.

Jabba The Puppett

He was folded by Mr. Howell, and saved the rebellion from being crushed twice.

Kellen Campbell

Kellen is Tommy's best friend in every book. In every story, he adds doodles to them. He wears glasses and liked Rhondella for the first five books. Then he liked Cassie. His last name was revealed in Books 2 and 5. He is African American.


Barbara Schultz of Common Sense Media gave the book a rating of four out of five stars, and described it as "Funny, [and] charming.[3] Kirkus Reviews praised the humor and described the book as, "A skewed amalgam of Wayside Stories and Wimpy Kid that is sure to please fans of both."[4] Elizabeth Kennedy of ThoughtCo described the book as clever, amusing, and unique.[5] Elizabeth Bird of Fuse 8 Production called the book as Angleberger's best work, described it as a companion piece to the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, and praised how the book can be enjoyed by all genders, the Star Wars aspects of the story, the character Dwight's arc with how it discusses tolerance of people who may relate to a stereotypical geek, and the different references and allusions made throughout, but criticized the references made to American Idol.[6]


Five sequels have been released, as well as an activity book.

Darth Paper Strikes Back!

Published in 2011

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 "It is a dark time at Ralph McQuarrie middle school. After suffering several Origami Yoda-related humiliations, Harvey manages to get 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.

The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee

Published in 2012

The third book In the series, The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee (ISBN 9781419705175), takes place immediately after Darth Paper Strikes Back!

The summary from reads: With Dwight attending Tippett Academy this semester, the kids of McQuarrie are on their own, no Yoda to help them navigate the treacherous waters of school. Then Sara gets a gift from Dwight; a cootie catcher (fortune teller) in the form of Chewbacca. It's a Fortune Wookiee, and it seems to give just as good advice as Yoda, even if, in the hands of the girls, it seems too preoccupied with romance. In the meantime, Dwight is fitting in at Tippett a little too well, and it's up to his old friends at McQuarrie to remind their buddy that it's in his oddness that his greatness lies.

The book includes instructions to make Chewbacca Fortune Wookiee and Han Foldo finger puppets.

ART2-D2's Guide to Folding and Doodling

The activity book (ISBN 9781419705342) was published in 2013. It contains a narrative linking four main sections describing how to draw and create origami characters from the book series. It also includes origami paper for folding. It does not have any part in the series with the exception of the introduction of several new origami characters like C3PO, Art2D2, kirigami general grevious, Harvey's darth paper, and more!

The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett!

Published in 2013

The fourth book in the Origami Yoda series, The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett! (ISBN 9781419710452), takes place almost immediately after The Secret of The Fortune Wookiee.

The summary on reads: Dark times have fallen on McQuarrie Middle School this semester. Dwight's back—and not a moment too soon—as Kellen, Sara and the gang face a new Menace: the FunTime Educational Program. FunTime is supposed to raise students' test scores; instead, it's driving everyone at McQuarrie crazy with its obnoxious Professor FunTime and his insidious singing calculator. When Principal Rabbski cancels the students' field trip—along with art, music and Lego classes—to make room for FunTime, the students turn to Origami Yoda for help. But some crises are too big for Origami Yoda to handle alone: Form a Rebel Alliance the students must. With this latest Episode in the explosively popular Origami Yoda series, Tom Angleberger proves once again that he "has his finger puppet squarely on the erratic pulse of middle-school life".

The book includes instructions for Ewok and Jabba the Puppett finger puppets.

Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue

The FunTime menace is still not defeated, so a mysterious character by the name of Princess Labelmaker gives the case file to Rabbski to explain that the FunTime menace is evil and to request for Rabsski's help. Later on, Princess Labelmaker is collected by Rabbski. At a meeting, Rabbski and the Alliance fight against the school board and save their electives, as well as their field trip to Washington. But who was Princess Labelmaker?

The book contains instructions on how to fold Luke, Leia, and in some copies, Obi-Wan.

Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus

This is the final concluding book of the series.

The book contains instructions for Emperor Pickletine and Flying Vader.

Also contains all characters that have been announced in the book series.


  1. "The strange case of Origami Yoda / Tom Angleberger". Library of Congress Online Catalog. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  2. Feinberg, Barbara. "Bound by Friendship". Sunday Book Review. The New York Times ( Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  3. Schultz, Barbara (March 1, 2010). "The Strange Case of Origami Yoda: Origami Yoda, Book 1". Common Sense Media. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  4. "THE STRANGE CASE OF ORIGAMI YODA". Kirkus Reviews. April 1, 2010. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  5. Kennedy, Elizabeth (May 23, 2019). "The Strange Case of Origami Yoda". ThoughtCo. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  6. Bird, Elizabeth (June 16, 2010). "Review of the Day: The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger". Fuse 8 Production. Retrieved August 14, 2019.

Further reading

  • Chipman, Ian (2010-05-01), "The Strange Case of Origami Yoda.(Brief article)(Children's review)(Book review)", Booklist, American Library Association, 106 (17): 55, ISSN 0006-7385
  • Willey, Paula (2011-03-01), "The Strange Case of Origami Yoda.(Brief article)(Children's review)(Audiobook review)", School Library Journal, Library Journals, LLC, 57 (3): 79, ISSN 0362-8930
  • Miller, Donalyn (2012-03-01), "The Strange Case of Origami Yoda.(Children's review)(Book review)", Language Arts, National Council of Teachers of English, 89 (4): 273, ISSN 0360-9170
  • Rockman, Connie (2011-04-15), "The Strange Case of Origami Yoda.(Brief article)(Children's review)(Audiobook review)", Booklist, American Library Association, 107 (16): 68–69, ISSN 0006-7385
  • Halperin, Susan (2010-09-22), "Angleberger, Tom The Strange Case of Origami Yoda.(Young adult review)(Brief article)(Book review)", The Horn Book Guide, The Horn Book, Inc, 21 (2): 329, ISSN 1044-405X
  • "Angleberger, Tom: The Strange Case of Origami Yoda.(Brief article)(Children's review)(Book review)", Kirkus Reviews, Kirkus Media LLC, 2010-03-01, ISSN 1948-7428
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