Darth Paper Strikes Back – Children’s Book Review
By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder
I took a look at The Strange Case of Origami Yoda shortly after Primary Ignition began, and really enjoyed the book’s quirkiness. Thus the sequel, Darth Paper Strikes Back, was a natural pick up for me. Thankfully, it offers more of the same.
In Darth Paper, Dwight, the peculiar boy who gives advice to his classmates via an Origami Yoda puppet (and quite good advice at that). has been suspended for allegedly using the puppet to threaten another student. As the school board contemplates whether to send Dwight to a reform school, it’s up to his classmates to assemble yet another case file, this one in defense of Dwight and the Yoda puppet. Meanwhile, another origami Star Wars puppet has emerged at Ralph McQuarrie Middle School (if you get that reference, you’re cool). Darth Paper has arrived, and the power of the Dark Side is with him…or something like that.
What’s really cool about this book from an adult’s perspective is the overall theme: That someone shouldn’t be chastised or labeled an outcast simply because they’re different. This is illustrated particularly well in the conflict between the school board and Dwight’s friends. Like a band of rebels fighting against an evil Empire, they’re trying to shake the school board’s strict definition of unacceptable behavior, so they can see that Dwight is simply trying to express himself. There’s a beautiful message in there about how school administrators, who are supposed to be nursing children’s minds and allowing them to grow, sometimes lose sight of that when they get bogged down by rules. Kids might not directly pick up on it, but it’s there.
The rest of the book consists of little stories about kids and their encounters with Origami Yoda. Pretty standard morals lessons, but some of them are touching nonetheless. For instance, there’s one about a girl who doesn’t smell very good, and Origami Yoda ends up revealing that she comes from a poor family with no washing machine. Ergo, the kids find a way to work around the issue without hurting her feelings. The Earth won’t necessarily move, but they’re sweet little stories.
Young Star Wars fans will also appreciate that Angleberger’s inner fanboy is brightly on display in this book. It’s filled with Star Wars quote, doodles of Star Wars characters, and instructions on how to make Star Wars origami. I chuckled more than once.
There’s a teaser at the end of Darth Paper which suggests Angleberger will be back for more origami space antics, and after reading Darth Paper, I can say with absolute certainty that I’ll be back. These books aren’t Catcher in the Rye, but they’re heartfelt, and immensely enjoyable. Or as Origami Yoda would say…”Immensely enjoyable they are.”
Front page image from starwars.com. Darth Paper image from origamiyoda.com.