Sunday, September 16, 2012

Darth Paper Strikes Back by Tom Angleberger

Tommy and his friends are excited to start middle school.  Last year Origami Yoda made their lives better with all of his Star Wars wisdom. Sure, some people thought Origami Yoda wasn’t real. They thought Dwight just made the finger puppet to be annoying.  But then why did he always seem to have the answers to everyone’s’ problems?  Seventh grade was going to great!  Or so everyone thought until Harvey, Yoda’s biggest critic, came to school with an origami Darth Paper puppet on this finger.  Harvey promised to prove Yoda was a fake and lead everyone over to the Dark Side.

No one was too worried about Harvey’s threat until the unthinkable happens, Dwight and Origami Yoda, get kicked out of school.  Tommy and his friends have to think of a way to help Dwight before the principal convinces the school board to send him to CREF, a school for trouble youth.  The students set about to create a case file with stories of all the people Origami Yoda (and Dwight) have helped over the past year, while Harvey (and Darth Paper) do their best to introduce the Dark Side to the school.

Will the force be with Tommy and his friends?  Can they save Dwight from CREF?   Will the Dark Side prevail?  Is Dwight really a troubled kid that disturbs others, or is he just a brilliant but misunderstood student? You’ll have to read the story to find out.

**Note: This is the second book in a series, but don’t worry if you haven’t’ read the first book, everything is explained in this book.  

Visit the author's website for the inside scoop on his books, and directions on how to fold your own Origami Yoda and Darth Paper!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Plunked by Michael Northrop

     Have you ever picked up a book, wondered if you’d like it, read the cover, thought, “Hmm, this book doesn’t really sound like me”, and then read it anyway?  Well that’s what I did with Plunked, by Michael Northrop, and now I just can’t get the story or the characters out of my head.  Through this book I was able to visit a world, the realm of sixth grade sports, that I’ve only glimpsed before and NEVER would have been permitted access to when I was in sixth grade (who am I kidding, I would wear a dress on gym day so I wouldn’t have to play baseball!).

The story centers around Jack Moegens, a sixth grade student that lives for baseball.  He’s played for as long as he can remember, through the Little League minors and now into the Little League majors. Jack’s friends as just as die-hard fanatics as he is, so I’m not exaggerating when I say they all live, eat and breathe baseball!  Fans of baseball will love all the detail the author has included in the book.  I now have a good understanding of the different positions on the teams, pitching strategies, practice routines, and more.

Just when you think you have the book all figured out, ”it” happens.  Jack is injured (you’ll have to read the book to find out how) and his whole world turns upside down.  Is he still able to play baseball?  Physically yes, but mentally…..  that’s where the problem occurs.  I thought this part of the book was fascinating.  The complex emotions and feelings that Jack went through trying to find his way back to a game and life that had been his whole world for so many years really provide the reader with insights into the mind of a 12 year old athlete.  Jack wrestles with nightmares, his own fears, and the reactions of his parents, friends and the coaches.  The easy way would be to just walk away and never play baseball again.  But can he do that?  Is that what he truly wants?  You’ll have to read the book to discover how Jack figures it all out!

Happy reading!