I’d like to thank Molly who recommended this book as a response to my post about Underrepresentation in Popular Culture. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger was a fun read for me as an adult, though there were times I cringed or had horrible flashbacks to my childhood. As a school story I do wonder how much of the context made sense to my homeschooled boys who haven’t read or watched many things set in public schools. When asked, Builder Boy said he didn’t really notice the school details.
The main plot of the book is a kid named Dwight with a finger puppet Origami Yoda. Dwight is the weird kids that most everyone avoids but his puppet is incredibly wise and helpful. The point of view is written not through Dwight’s eyes, but through the other children. They list examples of how Origami Yoda’s wisdom helped them (or not) and they debate whether Origami Yoda is magic or is actually Dwight the whole time.
Both Builder Boy and Early Bird read it. Builder Boy thinks Origami Yoda is magic. I think that’s because he believes all the negative comments about the Dwight character that he can’t possibly be smart, and that hurts my heart some. Early Bird asked if there was magic in the world of the book and when I told him that it was supposed to be set in a realistic world it confirmed his belief that Dwight is the real wisdom master. I was surprised by Builder Boy’s conclusion, but when I remember how literal he is and how he takes what people say at face value to be Truth, I shouldn’t be surprised.
I told the boys that both the author of the book and the character of Dwight are autistic. Builder Boy didn’t have much of a reaction to that, nor much to say on the subject when asked. (Which is typical pre-teen Builder Boy these days.) Early Bird thinks that’s awesome and is saddened by the other children’s treatment of Dwight.
I am starting to wish I had mentioned Dwight being on the spectrum before the boys read it. I wonder if that would have changed their perception of reading it. All three of us recommend it as a fun and easy read for those looking for kid books with autistic characters.