Warning you must heed! Read first three Origami Yoda books you must! Annoying yet, is this?
So…as you’ve no doubt gathered, this post will focus on the fourth book in Tom Angleberger’s Origami Yoda series, The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett. (In case you can’t remember, the first three books are The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, Darth Paper Strikes Back, and The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee.) You really need to read the first three books to fully grasp what’s going on in the fourth. If you’re a Star Wars nut like me, that shouldn’t be a problem.
In this fourth book, the students of McQuarrie Middle School are facing a terrible evil. More evil than the Empire. More evil than a Sith Lord without his morning coffee. More evil than Jar Jar Binks. (Well, maybe not that bad.) This semester, the school is eliminating all electives–Lego robotics, drama, music, yearbook–and forcing kids to spend those class times watching the horrible FunTime videos that are supposed to help increase standardized test scores.
As one can probably imagine, the students are not happy about this, and, with the help of Captain Dwight and Origami Yoda, they decide to do something about it. The students of McQuarrie Middle form their own Rebel Alliance and try to figure out a way to put an end to FunTime (and it’s stupid singing calculator). Their plan is risky, but it may just work if they can get enough kids on board. Armed with a battalion of origami Star Wars figures, the students of McQuarrie Middle seek to restore order and balance to the Force at their school.
Will the Rebel Alliance succeed in defeating the dreaded FunTime Menace, or is this war bigger than they realize? And what will this rebel band do when help comes from a surprising source? Learn just how much a determined group of kids can accomplish when you read The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett by Tom Angleberger! May the Force be with you!
I must say that I enjoyed this book just as much as the other three books in the Origami Yoda series. I do think, though, that it’s basic message might just be geared toward adults as much as kids. (I hate to say it, but it’s definitely a message that the “powers-that-be” in my own state and district could stand to learn.) If you ask any quality educator, they’ll probably tell you–at length–how they feel about standardized tests. (In short, we hate them.) Our hands are tied, though. We have to do what we’re told…just like our students do. It doesn’t make anyone happy, and I honestly don’t think you can measure a student’s achievement by looking at one test.
This book, quite frankly, gives me hope that change can happen…and it will begin with students. Once students and their parents have enough of being tested to death, things may just start to shift. I can almost guarantee teachers will get on board fast. Will it happen while I’m still an educator? Only time will tell…
Aside from all of the stuff about the evils of removing electives to focus on test-prep, The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett is like candy for Star Wars fans. Every student we meet has their own origami Star Wars figure (which are often matched to the students’ personalities). It’s really cool and kind of makes me want to start a Star Wars club at my school. (That would probably be the greatest club mankind has ever known.)
This book is a great read for the Star Wars fan (or the frustrated educator) in your life. It demonstrates what a determined group of people are capable of accomplishing if they work together. Good times.
For more information about the Origami Yoda series and author Tom Angleberger, visit http://origamiyoda.com/.
One more thing! This Saturday is Star Wars Reads Day! For information on an event near you, check out http://starwars.com/reads/!