THE STRANGE CASE OF ORIGAMI YODA

From the Origami Yoda series , Vol. 1

Sixth grader Tommy has a dilemma: He doesn’t know whether to trust the advice of Origami Yoda, who dispenses wisdom from his perch on the finger of mega-nerd Dwight. Tommy compiles this case file, written by himself and other students who have benefited (or not) from Dwight/Yoda’s help, in an attempt to decide. Tommy’s friend Harvey, a skeptic, comments on each story, and another friend, Kellen, illustrates. Yoda counsels students on everything from American Idol outcomes to overcoming fear of softball failure to what to do when you get a little water stain on your pants in just the wrong place. Though Tommy’s not forthcoming, it’s pretty easy to guess what he’s uncertain about, but it’s never easy to guess the next twist in this kooky charmer of a Cyrano mystery tale. The arch and dry (and sometimes slapstick) humor of Angleberger’s first will keep the pages turning. The stories are presented in a different typeface from Harvey’s comments and Tommy’s, and the whole is designed to look like a battered journal, crinkled paper and all. A skewed amalgam of Wayside Stories and Wimpy Kid that is sure to please fans of both. (Origami Yoda instructions) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-8109-8425-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2010

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

With comically realistic black-and-white illustrations by Selznick (The Robot King, 1995, etc.), this is a captivating...

FRINDLE

Nicholas is a bright boy who likes to make trouble at school, creatively. 

When he decides to torment his fifth-grade English teacher, Mrs. Granger (who is just as smart as he is), by getting everyone in the class to replace the word "pen'' with "frindle,'' he unleashes a series of events that rapidly spins out of control. If there's any justice in the world, Clements (Temple Cat, 1995, etc.) may have something of a classic on his hands. By turns amusing and adroit, this first novel is also utterly satisfying. The chess-like sparring between the gifted Nicholas and his crafty teacher is enthralling, while Mrs. Granger is that rarest of the breed: a teacher the children fear and complain about for the school year, and love and respect forever after. 

With comically realistic black-and-white illustrations by Selznick (The Robot King, 1995, etc.), this is a captivating tale—one to press upon children, and one they'll be passing among themselves. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-689-80669-8

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1996

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Not for the faint-hearted—who are mostly adults anyway—but for stouthearted kids who love a brush with the sinister:...

CORALINE

A magnificently creepy fantasy pits a bright, bored little girl against a soul-eating horror that inhabits the reality right next door.

Coraline’s parents are loving, but really too busy to play with her, so she amuses herself by exploring her family’s new flat. A drawing-room door that opens onto a brick wall becomes a natural magnet for the curious little girl, and she is only half-surprised when, one day, the door opens onto a hallway and Coraline finds herself in a skewed mirror of her own flat, complete with skewed, button-eyed versions of her own parents. This is Gaiman’s (American Gods, 2001, etc.) first novel for children, and the author of the Sandman graphic novels here shows a sure sense of a child’s fears—and the child’s ability to overcome those fears. “I will be brave,” thinks Coraline. “No, I am brave.” When Coraline realizes that her other mother has not only stolen her real parents but has also stolen the souls of other children before her, she resolves to free her parents and to find the lost souls by matching her wits against the not-mother. The narrative hews closely to a child’s-eye perspective: Coraline never really tries to understand what has happened or to fathom the nature of the other mother; she simply focuses on getting her parents back and thwarting the other mother for good. Her ability to accept and cope with the surreality of the other flat springs from the child’s ability to accept, without question, the eccentricity and arbitrariness of her own—and every child’s own—reality. As Coraline’s quest picks up its pace, the parallel world she finds herself trapped in grows ever more monstrous, generating some deliciously eerie descriptive writing.

Not for the faint-hearted—who are mostly adults anyway—but for stouthearted kids who love a brush with the sinister: Coraline is spot on. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: July 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-380-97778-8

Page Count: 176

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2002

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more